An optometrist saved my life
“Something was seriously wrong”
AOP Awards Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year 2018, Faye McDearmid, and her patient, Lucienne McDonald, tell OT about an emergency referral that lead to prompt treatment
What prompted you to go for a sight test?
Lucienne McDonald: I was experiencing throbbing pain around the eye and in the right side of my temple, as well as sensitivity to light.
What did the optometrist find, and what were the next steps?
LM: My optometrist, Faye McDearmid, arranged for a hospital appointment where they checked my eyes and did blood tests.
Did you have to undergo further treatment?
LM: The blood test results revealed that something was seriously wrong, which turned out to be temporal arteritis. My GP prescribed medication and I attended three follow up appointments in 10 days while they waited for things to settle down. I felt like I was in safe hands.
"I explained that due to the severity of the pain over the temporal area and potential for further, lasting visual loss that we would be making an emergency referral"
Have your views on the importance of sight tests and eye care changed as a result of this experience?
LM: I would advise everyone to have proper eye examinations with an optometrist to monitor eye health and general health conditions that can affect eyes. I’ve also recently found out that I have mild cataracts developing, which is being monitored by Faye. I will always come for regular eye examinations to detect any change to my eye health.
What did you identify during the sight test?
Faye McDearmid: I found that ocular manifestations were reducing vision on the affected side, as well as binocular misalignment, eye pain and a slightly ischaemic looking optic nerve head.
How did you explain what you had found, or suspected?
FM: I explained that due to the severity of the pain over the temporal area and potential for further, lasting visual loss that we would be making an emergency referral, which would further investigate eye health and any temporal artery inflammation by a special blood test.
What were the next steps that you took?
FM: The referral was faxed to our emergency access ‘fast-track’ system at the local hospital’s eye service ophthalmology department. Thankfully, Lucienne was able to make a full visual and overall health recovery thanks to prompt treatment.