An optometrist saved my life

“It’s important to look after the gift of sight”

Optometrist at Albert Road Opticians, Deepak Oberai, and his patient, Donald Broughton, discuss a referral to have shrapnel removed from his eye

Mr Oberai and Mr Broughton

Before you went for a sight test, had you experienced any symptoms?

Donald Broughton (DB): My main symptoms were that my eye became tired and painful due to the amount of concentration required for the work that I was doing as a hairdresser.

What did the optometrist find?

DB: I knew I had shrapnel in my eye from previous eye examinations. However, Deepak was the first person to consider referring me to have it removed as it was causing a cataract. When I was 16-years-old, I was hunting in Tatton Park in Cheshire and one of the pellets ricocheted from my friends’ gun and entered my eye.

Can you describe how you felt during the referral?

DB: I was quite unsure if anything could be done. However, I was happy to go along with having it removed. The optometrist was confident and I had nothing to lose.

Did you undergo further treatment and what has been the outcome?

DB: We are still working on certain aspects of the treatment, but I’m pleased with the progress. The surgeon left the pellet in the eye because it had been there for over 60 years but he removed the cataract caused by the pellet. I am awaiting surgery on my other eye because of anisometropia. I have intermittent double vision that I hope will be resolved with surgery.

Have your views on the importance of sight tests and eye care changed as a result of this experience?

DB: I have always had regular eye tests. It’s important to look after the gift of sight. You don’t value what you have until it’s gone.

How has the experience changed your life?

DB: After post-operative challenges have settled there’s been a dramatic improvement in my vision.

I knew I had shrapnel in my eye from previous eye examinations

Patient Donald Broughton

What did you identify during the sight test?

Deepak Oberai (DO): Mr Broughton had a dense cataract that was obstructing his vision as a result of a pellet that was stuck in his eye. If removed, it would significantly improve his eyesight. After conducting an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan it was clear to me that I could help him.

I was very interested in the nature of Mr Broughton’s injury and why no treatment or further investigation had been offered in the past. I had to be persistent but referred to him a local eye surgeon. The consultant found the shot gun pellet that was embedded in his lens and was causing a cataract.

What were the next steps that you took?

DO: We are fortunate enough to have an OCT device, which identified that his retina was still intact. With this information, I was confident that a cataract removal was possible.

When did you hear about the results of your referral and how have you been involved since?

DO: My colleague, Claire, took a message saying that the procedure had been successful and how shocked the patient was that the treatment was successful. Since then I have been in contact with both the surgeon and the patient to make sure things are working well.

What are your three top tips to other practitioners when making a referral?


  1. Stop to think of the benefits to the patient
  2. Be confident in your own ability to question previous decisions
  3. Always follow up with your patients.

Pictured is Mr Oberai and Mr Broughton.