Brighouse woman’s eyesight saved thanks to opticians

A Brighouse woman has undergone a potentially sight-saving procedure after an optometrist at Specsavers Brighouse helped identify signs of serious condition.

Thursday, 1st July 2021, 12:00 pm
Joanne Senior
Joanne Senior

While the store is currently open following government guidelines during the Covid-19 pandemic, 37-year-old Internal Quality Assurance Manager, Joanne Senior, visited Specsavers Brighouse in April when she experienced daily headaches, sometimes severe, for several weeks.

Specsavers’ optometrist at Brighouse, Rahat Hussain, carried out a full eye examination which identified abnormalities. As part the investigations she did an OCT scan, which enables her to see the eye in minute detail, and immediately referred Joanne to A&E at Calderdale Royal Hospital due to results of the scan.

Joanne underwent a series of tests at the hospital, including a CT and MRI scan to rule out tumors in the brain. A lumbar puncture procedure confirmed she had Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension, with excess fluid from the brain removed just hours after she contacted Specsavers for an appointment, which helped to save her sight.

Intracranial hypertension (IH) is a build-up of pressure around the brain, which mainly effects women in their 20s and 30s. It can happen suddenly, for example, as the result of a severe head injury, stroke or brain abscess, known as acute IH. It can also be a persistent, long-lasting problem, known as chronic IH.

This is rare and sometimes it's not clear why it happens. Joanne was diagnosed with Idiopathic Intercranial Hypertension meaning the cause is unknown.

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Joanne said: "I personally can’t thank Rahat at Specsavers enough. I visited Specsavers Brighouse in April when I noticed my headaches were getting worse and thought I may just need a new prescription. Rahat immediately referred me to hospital.

"I was in shock when I was told my brain was producing fluid which was significantly higher than normal, but also very grateful it was spotted. The doctors were great, it took about 20-30 minutes to perform the lumbar puncture, but it was worth it knowing it was sight-saving.

"Had I not made the trip to see Rahat at Specsavers and the resulting investigations at Calderdale Royal Hospital, the consequences could have certainly been life changing. Doctors at the hospital informed me that had my condition gone unchecked it could have possibly escalated to the point where my sight could have been lost within six to eight months.

"Following on from the procedure, I must regularly meet with an eye specialist and a neurologist to manage the condition and I have been put on medication that has debilitating side effects, such as losing feeling in hands and feet, and sometimes the face.

"The tablets have altered the taste of certain foods and drinks, and I often have photosensitivity where I feel uncomfortable in bright daylight. I am hopeful that the medication will prevent my brain from over producing CSF fluid, but if not, there are other options.

"I would certainly recommend, without hesitation, that anyone who feels that they are experiencing anything out of the ordinary with their eyes should go and get them tested immediately."

Rahat said: "We’re really pleased to hear that treatment has gone well for Ms. Senior and the outcome has been extremely positive. The subsequent procedure was certainly sight-saving.

"It goes to show just how important it is to have regular eye examinations and more so an OCT scan. We recommend having your eyes tested at least every two years unless you have concerns about your sight, in which case it is advisable to book an appointment even sooner."

Specsavers offers a range of technology to spot eye conditions and other underlying problems, which can help detect other treatable eye conditions such as diabetic retinopathy and macular degeneration sooner.

To book an appointment, visit www.specsavers.co.uk/stores/brighouse or call 01484 711 222.