Woman’s selfie saves her life – public reminded to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s

The Association of Optometrists is calling on the public to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s to help raise awareness of eye health and regular sight tests

05 Feb 2016

Following news of a recent ‘selfie’ that saved a woman’s life, the Association of Optometrists (AOP) is calling on the public to show their eyes some love this Valentine’s to help raise awareness of eye health and regular sight tests.

Twenty-seven-year-old Nadine Rash, who works as a retinal screener at Linklaters Optometrists in Bexleyheath, Kent, knows the importance of regular sight tests with an optometrist. However, concerns about her own vision prompted her to take a ‘selfie’ of the back of her eye on a retinal camera, resulting in a shocking discovery.

Speaking exclusively to Optometry Today, the AOP’s in-house journal, Ms Rash said: “On photographing my left eye I saw instantly that my optic disc was incredibly swollen, undefined and had inflamed haemorrhages. I was shocked to see what looked like papilloedema - swollen optic nerves - something which is potentially life threatening if left untreated. After seeing it, I rushed to one of my colleagues who confirmed the severity of the symptom.”

Gordon Ilett, AOP member and Optometrist Director at Linklaters Optometrists, quickly realised the severity of Nadine’s case and referred her to King’s College London for further investigation. Mr Ilett said: “Optometrists are trained to identify abnormalities with vision and general health - it’s part of our daily routine. On seeing Nadine’s selfie it was clear she had papilloedema. Periodic examinations can pick up a lot of these problems before they become more serious so it’s important to have regular sight tests.”

Specialists at King’s College London carried out a CT and MRI scan to check for a tumour and bleeding in Nadine’s brain and confirmed that she had idiopathic intracranial hypertension. After having a lumbar puncture and spending the night at King’s, Nadine was then sent home with medication to reduce the fluid in her body, which reduced the swelling dramatically. 

Geoff Roberson, AOP Professional Advisor, said: “Fortunately in Nadine’s case, early detection resulted in immediate treatment and no further threat to her health. Eyes are often described as the window to the soul but many people are unaware that eyes are also the window to the body - as optometrists can detect signs of general health conditions during a sight test. As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.” 

The AOP has produced a new video aimed at the public to raise awareness of the importance of eye health with top tips for good vision. AOP members around the UK have been sent a new poster to raise awareness of eye health and encourage the public to show their eyes some love at Valentine’s. 

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For more information, please contact Anne Grenyer, PR and Media Manager, at the Association of Optometrists, annegrenyer@aop.org.uk or telephone 020 7549 2063.

Notes to Editors 

A new poster, Show your eyes some love this Valentine’s, was distributed to the AOP’s members across the UK in January 2015.

Association of Optometrists 

The Association of Optometrists (AOP) is the leading professional membership organisation for optometrists and other optical professionals in the UK. We support our community of 16,000 plus members to fulfil their professional roles to protect the nation’s eye health. As a founding member of the Optical Confederation we work with others to improve eye health for the public good. Find more information at www.aop.org.uk

Optometrists and eye health

Optometrists are eye health professionals and the services they provide are far wider than a simple test to determine whether glasses or contact lenses are required to correct vision. A sight test is not about getting a pair of glasses – it is a vital health check for your eyes.  

As well as an eye health check, a sight test might detect signs of underlying general health conditions, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Everyone should have a sight test every two years, or more often if your optometrist recommends it. Find more patient information at www.aop.org.uk/patients