Builder praises quick-thinking Bedford opticians for saving his sight

Flitwick man received corrective surgery
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When Stuart Ward-Clarke, of Flitwick, started to experience flashing lights in his left eye, he knew something wasn't quite right.

Worried an optician wouldn't be able to see him on a Sunday, he left a message.

But amazingly, Specsavers in Bedford, called him back, identified a sight-threatening condition, and ultimately saved his vision.

Dharshana Chauhan, ophthalmic director of Specsavers Bedford, and StuartWard-ClarkeDharshana Chauhan, ophthalmic director of Specsavers Bedford, and StuartWard-Clarke
Dharshana Chauhan, ophthalmic director of Specsavers Bedford, and StuartWard-Clarke

Builder Stuart, 57, said: "I was watching TV with my daughter when I started to see flashing lights in my left eye. Initially, I thought I’d seen flashes on the TV screen, but when I saw something like a bolt of lightning in my peripheral vision I knew something wasn’t right.

"I realised I hadn’t been for a sight test in over a year and so I tried to call the opticians the following day. However, as it was a Sunday, I didn’t think I’d be able to get through to anyone.

"Incredibly, after leaving a voicemail on the system at Specsavers in Bedford, I’d received a call back within two hours."

Dharshana Chauhan, ophthalmic director of Specsavers Bedford, returned Stuart’s call after hearing his symptoms.

She said: "His symptoms indicated a potentially serious problem with his eyes, and so I arranged an emergency appointment with him as soon as possible."

Dharshana added: "After dilating his eyes to carry out a detailed examination I immediately saw the symptoms of a retinal tear in Stuart’s left eye – a condition that if left untreated, can

lead to permanent sight loss."

He was referred to Bedford Hospital immediately and he underwent corrective retinoplasty surgery the same day.

However, due to the tear being on the edge of Stuart’s retina, the team at Bedford Hospital were unable to complete the surgery successfully - and he was referred to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital in London, where his surgery was successful.

Stuart said: "I’d become quite worried after finding out that I needed to be referred to Moorfield’s Hospital.

"Fortunately, Dharshana was fantastic in giving me reassurance and letting me know what to expect. I can’t thank her and the team enough."

Dharshana said: "Cases like Stuart’s are why we stayed open to provide urgent and essential care throughout lockdown, and why we’re happy to continue working throughout the week.

‘We’re delighted that we could help him get the diagnosis and treatment he needed. It’s imperative that we continue to operate during these difficult circumstances as without access

to opticians like us, Stuart could’ve potentially lost his eye sight."

Stuart added: "I really appreciate all of the help from Dharshana at Specsavers and the team in-store. Had I not gone to Specsavers, my condition could’ve been much worse."

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