Serious underlying health condition revealed during routine eye test at Specsavers Hemel Hempstead


SPECSAVERS CUSTOMER, Steven Hudson, visited his local Specsavers in Hemel Hempstead on 28th April 2021. This was his first visit to the store, having re-located to Hemel from Southwest London almost seven years ago.

Mr Hudson had been suffering from regular migraine headaches since 2011 and had visited his GP and private doctors on several occasions, and had been referred for various tests at different hospitals, but without any success in resolving his health problems. At times Mr Hudson described feeling like he was seeing objects flying into his eyes and was advised to visit the optician for an eye test.

The managing director of an asset management consulting firm based in London and Hemel Hempstead, Mr Hudson is originally from Houston, Texas (USA). As a result of not receiving a diagnosis for his health conditions, Mr Hudson become so desperate to find out what was wrong, that he had even contemplated returning home to Houston to see a consultant and hopefully find out what the problem was.

During his Specsavers eye test, Mr Hudson had the usual optical tests to assess his vision, eye pressure and a visual eye health assessment with the store’s Clinical Director, Mr Shane Abbas Bhimani. In addition, Mr Hudson had an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) 3D scan, which enabled Mr Bhimani to view the eyes’ health in greater detail. This machine allowed him to see what was occurring beneath the eye’s surface and pinpoint specific areas of concern.
Reviewing the OCT scan and assessing the sight test results, Mr Bhimani observed some abnormalities in the eye, including swelling caused by burst blood vessels resulting in blurred vision in both eyes. These findings indicated a more serious underlying health condition. He telephoned Stoke Mandeville Hospital and referred Mr Hudson immediately to the ophthalmology department.
Over the next couple of months, Mr Hudson underwent a series of diagnostic tests and examinations, including an MRI scan and a 24-hour blood pressure monitoring test, known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring. As a result of the tests, it was confirmed that Mr Hudson had Stage 2 hypertension, which is the most severe form of hypertension, causing his blood pressure to be incredibly high and impacting his vision. If left untreated, it could have had severe health ramifications, including death. Now on medication to help lower the blood pressure, Mr Hudson has also reviewed his diet and made lifestyle changes.
Steven Hudson commented, ‘I was desperate to find out what was wrong with my eyesight, and I was highly relieved that Shane was completely honest with me when he reviewed the eye test results and discussed them with me. I genuinely believe that if he hadn’t referred me straight away to Stoke Mandeville, I might not be here today! I am very grateful to him.

Continuing, Mr Hudson said, ‘Over the last few months, I have changed my diet, which has helped reduce my blood pressure. I now eat lots more fruit and vegetables and have cut out bacon, which I loved! However, it seemed to trigger the rise in my blood pressure, so I no longer eat it regularly like I used to. I am now very much more focused on my health and lifestyle than I was previously. I’m so pleased that I went to Specsavers Hemel Hempstead in April for my eye test and to Shane for helping me to get my health back on track.’

Mr Bhimani said, ‘I am pleased that Steven is now much better and is managing his high blood pressure. This case highlights the importance of attending a routine eye test and how an OCT scan highlights any underlying health conditions. I wish Steven all the best with his new diet and lifestyle changes.’

The importance of going to the optician is more than just having an eye test these days. It’s more of an overall health check, as the OCT diagnostic equipment and retinal photography can detect any potential early-stage development of more sinister conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The OCT is a hospital-grade, advanced diagnostic, eye scanning equipment that helps detect several eye conditions, including glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It can detect eye conditions up to four years ahead of them presenting via a standard eye test.
The optician will conduct tests to assess the overall health and functioning of the eyes and ask you about your family background and any genetic health conditions. On rare occasions, diseases or a life-threatening medical condition, such as in the case with Steven, can be picked up during a routine eye test, so eye examinations are an essential part of your regular health checks.

Specsavers stores remain open for eye and hearing tests. Those unable to leave home unaccompanied can request a home visit from Specsavers or use the RemoteCare video and phone consultation service instead. For non-urgent inquiries, the ‘Ask The Expert’ Facebook page helps with any eye strain resulting in headaches, eye twitches, and migraines that people may be suffering from, especially during the lockdown.

‘Ask The Expert’ is an innovative service, manned by optometrists who can answer questions relating to everyday eye care or recommend booking an appointment as necessary. Such is the uplift in enquiries in recent weeks, more optometrists are being recruited to meet demand.

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