Brooke Watson (28) has had her sight saved after an enhanced eye examination at Black & Lizars in Ayr discovered excess pressure on her brain and eyes.
The accounts assistant from Ayrshire had suffered from migraines for years, but when one headache lasted for eight weeks, she decided to visit her local optician.
At the practice, Brooke was seen by optometrist, Nadine Joyce who ran an enhanced eye exam to determine the cause. The enhanced testing included using an Optomap retinal imaging scanner, which images five times more of the retina than standard digital retinal photography and produces a high-resolution scan for the optician to assess.
The technology helped Nadine identify that Brooke had swollen optic nerves. Brooke explained: “I remember Nadine being shocked at the results of the scan and noting that my optic nerves were ‘coming out to meet her’.
“It was coming from intercranial pressure in my brain, pushing into the back of my eyes. I was then rushed on to hospital where it was confirmed that I was suffering from Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension (IIH for short), with early papilledema. Unfortunately, it’s not a condition that there’s a cure for yet, but if caught early enough it can be managed”.
“I’m so lucky that Nadine caught this as early as she did, because it can cause blindness and severe problems for my brain and skull. Two other opticians hadn’t picked up on the symptoms which is why I went to Black & Lizars specifically to be tested on the Optomap machine that eventually identified it.
“I’ve had to undergo lumbar punctures to relieve the pressure quickly, I now take pills every morning and night to keep the pressure down and I have regular visits to Hospital ophthalmology/neurology departments and with Nadine at Black & Lizars for check-ups on my eyes.”
IIH affects only around one in every 100,000 people and can be detected from non-invasive eye tests available on the high street at opticians like Black & Lizars that offer retinal imaging.
Nadine Joyce added: “Regular eye tests are an essential part of any health check-up, whether you wear glasses and lenses or not.
“The technology used in practice is now so advanced that it doesn’t just identify prescriptions, but as the only place in the body where blood vessels can be seen directly, it can detect underlying conditions including; heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, strokes and some cancers.”
“Conditions like IIH that Brooke was diagnosed with is more prevalent in women of child-bearing age than other groups, so regular eye examinations are vital.”
To find out more about Optomap technology or to book an enhanced eye test, please visit: www.blackandlizars.com.