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An optometrist saved my life

“I had never been to an opticians before”

Specsavers optometrist, Alison Dunne, and her patient, Peter Hoey, speak about the referral that led to a blood transfusion

Alison Dunne and Peter Hoey

A Specsavers patient in Northern Ireland has received a life-saving blood transfusion after being referred by his optometrist.

Peter Hoey lives with a chronic illness that gives him regular stomach problems but decided to go to the optometrist after he experienced an inflamed, gritty pain behind his eyes.

The 46-year-old from Newry, said: “Despite feeling regularly unwell, I never noticed any issues with my eyes. I had never been to an opticians before and I have never worn glasses, but when my eyes started to feel sore, I thought I would call in to Specsavers to see if they could help me with my discomfort.”

During a sight test, Mr Hoey’s optometrist, Alison Dunne, recommended an optical coherence tomography scan and detected a bleed at the back of his eye.

Ms Dunne referred Mr Hoey to Daisy Hill Hospital, where he had an emergency blood transfusion within 10 hours.

Speaking about the referral, Ms Dunne said: “Peter made the right decision to come in swiftly to get his eyes checked because of feeling discomfort. We’re glad we detected his serious underlying health condition in time for it to be treated. He is very fortunate to be alive.”

Mr Hoey added that he can’t believe how lucky he is to still be here. “I would not be able to tell others that eyes can detect health issues that might go unnoticed such as internal bleeding,” he said.