Retired civil servant Martin O’Hare from Glenn, just outside Newry, has always looked after his eye health. Since needing glasses for reading and close up work around 10 years ago he has been fastidious in maintaining his regular two yearly eye examinations at local opticians, Specsavers in Buttercrane Shopping Centre, Newry.

‘There is a history of glaucoma in our family and I’m always mindful that something could happen to my eyesight.’  However, he wasn’t prepared for what was to ensue.

Martin O'Hare
Martin O'Hare

In early October Martin noticed a blurring and a shadow in his left eye. He knew something was not quite right although was not immediately alarmed. However, he decided to make an appointment at Specsavers even though his next routine check wasn’t due for almost a year and got one booked for the next afternoon.

Optometrist Kerri Rafferty explains: ‘On completing an examination I detected a retinal tear at the back of Martin’s left eye which was leaking blood. His vision had reduced dramatically and it was important at this stage to get an emergency appointment at the Royal Victoria Hospital’s eye department to allow for fuller investigations.’

Kerri was able to secure a next day appointment at the RVH and following tests and an MRI scan the hospital concluded that although the retina was still intact the tear and bleeding at the back of the eye required urgent laser surgery. 

Martin underwent laser surgery that same day and returned the next morning for a second session of laser treatment.

Such a Relief

Since the treatment, Martin has been back for a final check up with consultant ophthalmologist, Mr Chan who is very happy with Martin’s progress and no further hospital check-ups are required.

‘It’s such a relief,” says Martin ‘Both Mr Chan and the laser surgeon Mr Reel said that if it hadn’t been for the prompt action of my optometrist Kerri, then I could have lost the sight in my left eye. My eyesight is almost back to where it was before and I’m delighted. I’ve four children and four grandchildren and it’s wonderful to be able to see and chat to everyone properly – though of course we’re abiding by government advice.

‘I’m really indebted to Kerri at Newry Specsavers for detecting the bleed and for organizing a hospital appointment so quickly. She was in constant contact with me to see how diagnosis and treatment was progressing in hospital and I can’t thank her enough. She really went above and beyond. I’d also like to thank the wonderful medical team at the Royal Victoria Hospital. It’s been such a busy time for them with the impact of the pandemic and it’s fantastic how they are also looking after normal emergency cases. 

‘I would urge everyone to make sure they get their eyes tested regularly and if you suspect something is not right with your eyes, get it checked out with an optician – it may just save your sight.’

Kerri Rafferty, Optometrist, Specsavers.
Kerri Rafferty, Optometrist, Specsavers, Newry.

Store Remains Open

The Specsavers store in Newry remains open for all eye care and hearing needs in the wake of the extended government restrictions in place from 27 November.

Opticians and audiologists are recognised as providing essential health care services, which means Specsavers’ 23 stores in Northern Ireland continue to offer a full breadth of services to the local community.

These include routine eye and hearing tests, contact lens consultations, frame repairs and the sale of glasses, contact lenses, hearing aids and other products.  The safety and wellbeing of customers and store colleagues is a main priority and Specsavers has adapted ways of working and are adhering to strict government guidelines. These include restrictions on the number of customers allowed in store at any one-time, social distancing, and contactless instead of cash payments, where possible. 

Keeping in line with government recommendations, Specsavers staff use personal protective equipment (PPE), wear face masks and gloves during tests, and all testing equipment and frames are thoroughly sanitised before and after each use. Customers are also asked to request an appointment in advance by phone or online through the Specsavers website to help manage social distancing.

Specsavers has also introduced a number of ways to access them without leaving home, including  RemoteCare -  a free consultation service offering advice and care via video and telephone link. Glasses and contact lenses can also be bought online with a current prescription through their new e-commerce service.

To find out more information, request an appointment or browse the online store, visit WWW.SPECSAVERS.CO.UK

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