Alfie Barney’s mother Catherine also noticed that her eight-year-old son had developed a squint in one of his eyes. His headache was put on his nerves for the upcoming school year, but it hid a much darker truth
A young boy is fortunate enough to be alive after an eye test reveals a life-threatening brain disease from which he suffered.
Alfie Barney, eight, from Derbyshire started having headaches due to being nervous about going back to school.
His mother Catherine decided to take Alfie for an eye test after noticing that he had developed a squint in one of his eyes as well.
During his eye test, optician Adnan Nawaz noticed that something was wrong and told the family to go to A&E as a matter of urgency, where Alfie was soon diagnosed with bilateral optic disc edema.
The condition is caused by increased pressure around the brain and can lead to vision loss or serious changes in vision, and in the worst case scenario, it can be fatal.
Alfie was one of the lucky ones to be diagnosed with the disease as he has made a full recovery since his lumbar puncture.
Lesley Grocock, 53, of Nottingham, also narrowly avoided losing her eyesight after facing problems.
Lesley thought that the fact that she had black spots in her eyesight was due to her age, but it was actually a retinal tear in her eye.
She said, “I always rush around and just haven’t had time to make an appointment with the optician.
“As it turns out, if I’d walked just a few weeks longer, I would have lost the vision in my eye – it’s not worth thinking about.”
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Lesley underwent surgery the next day to repair the tear with three stitches and a silicone rubber implant, followed by a second procedure six weeks later to remove the silicone and a cataract that had formed.
In the UK’s 2021 Eye Health Report, commissioned by Specsavers in collaboration with leading eye health professionals and charities, there were 4.3 million fewer eye tests in 2020 – a 23 percent decrease compared to the previous 12 months .
Another 235,000 eye clinic appointments were missed or postponed during the pandemic.
As a result, eye health experts predict a significant increase in vision loss and other health conditions over the coming months and years.
According to the report, it is estimated that nearly 3,000 people (2,986) have already lost their eyesight due to delayed detection and treatment of eye diseases during the pandemic.
And the number of people referred with suspected glaucoma – known as the “silent eyesight thief” – fell by 43,000 from March to December 2020, of whom 2,600 were for urgent care.
The UK State’s Eye Health 2021 report estimates a three-year wait to clear up the backlog of missed appointments, which could result in an additional 57.2 million days of waiting for eye surgery.
The pandemic is also forecast to add an additional £ 2.5 million to the cost of vision loss and blindness in the UK between 2021 and 2024, in addition to the existing annual estimates of around £ 36 million.
Specsavers also conducted research on 5,000 adults that found 15 percent delayed an eye test because they feared they were told they might have a more serious condition.
The prices of eye tests also put people off taking them, the report said.
27 percent of people said they delayed booking an eye test, although 16 percent admitted headaches or migraines have affected their eyesight since the pandemic began.
Giles Edmonds, Clinical Services Director at Specsavers, said, “Stories like this really put into perspective the need to see an optometrist for any change in your eyesight or persistent symptoms.
“Many people have no idea that such health problems can be diagnosed through an eye test.
“Fortunately, it was a happy ending in Alfie’s case, but that may not be the case with others who ignore symptoms for fear of what this could mean for their health.”
“Ahead of National Eye Health Week this month, I’m encouraging people to book their eye tests.
“They’re usually quick and straightforward, while also giving you the peace of mind that you don’t have any underlying problems that could lead to a range of health problems.”
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