‘Eye test saved son’s life’ - mum

Kirsten Lee with her son Mathew Lee and Lincoln store manager  Donna Green.
Kirsten Lee with her son Mathew Lee and Lincoln store manager Donna Green.

A mother from Bucknall says she owes her teenage son’s life to a high street optometrist after a routine eye test revealed a swollen optic nerve.

Kirsten Lee, mother of 17-year-old Mathew, booked an eye test at Vision Express in the Waterside Shopping Centre in Lincoln.

During a thorough examination, resident optometrist Natalia Nowakowska detected a swollen optic nerve - which can indicate fluid on the brain - and immediately referred Mathew to the ophthalmologist at Lincoln County Hospital.

Having been born with Hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), Mathew underwent successful shunt surgery when he was a baby.

The surgery involved fitting a thin tube to drain the excess fluid from his brain safely into his abdomen, where the fluid would then be absorbed into his blood stream.

Kirsten explained: “After being seen by the ophthalmologist we were referred to the neurologist for an MRI scan because the swelling and pressure were symptomatic of a failing shunt.

“As we awaited our appointment, Mathew started to develop black fuzzy vision and we were referred to Queen’s Medical Centre.

“The neurologist confirmed that his ventricles had grown significantly and that he needed a new shunt, to not only save his vision, but his life.”

Vision Express Lincoln store manager Donna Green said: “It is so important for people to have regular eye tests – whether you’ve experienced a sudden or gradual change in your vision or otherwise.

“The eye test allowed us to identify a serious condition and refer Mathew immediately to receive the expert treatment he needed.

“Any increase in the pressure behind the eye is dangerous, so the sooner you can be seen by a specialist, the less stressful the treatment will be and there is a greater likelihood of a positive outcome.”

Since being fitted with a new shunt, Mathew has experienced no further symptoms and is living life to the full again with no impaired vision.

Kirsten added: “I am so grateful to Natalia and the staff at Vision Express for the professionalism shown in Mathew’s care.

“I popped in with a bunch of flowers for Natalia after Mathew’s operation as a small thank you - and for effectively saving his life. If the swelling had gone undetected, it might have been a very different outcome.

“It’s been a real rollercoaster but I’m happy Mathew is fully recovered and back at Lincoln College working towards a career in car restoration.”

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To find your nearest Vision Express store and make an eye test appointment visit:http://www.visionexpress.com/opticians/