ARBROATH resident Moray Sutherland, West Newgate, has paid tribute to a local optician who, he says, helped save his life.
The 57-year-old had been suffering from a sore head on a regular basis for about 12 months but did not suspect he had any major health concerns. But when he also began to experience sudden short periods of vision loss he came to the conclusion it might be something more serious.
After arranging an eye examination at his local Specsavers he was shocked what it revealed.
He explained: “I had been suffering from sore heads now and then for about a year, but I didn’t think too much of it. Then I suddenly went blind for short periods three or four times in quick succession. It was very scary and I had no idea what was going on.
“I had never had any eye problems before so I went to my doctor and he suggested I go to an optician to have my eyes checked to try and get to the bottom of it.”
Following his GP’s advice Mr Sutherland visited his local Specsavers branch in Arbroath for the first time. Having assessed the symptoms and carried out a full eye examination, ophthalmic director Kenny Johnston suspected Amaurosis Fugax - which is effectively a mini-stroke of the eye - and referred Mr Sutherland for blood pressure and cholesterol checks.
Having returned to his doctor with this recommendation he was quickly admitted to Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, where further investigation and ultrasound scans led to the diagnosis of a narrowing of the carotid artery that feeds oxygen to the head.
The short periods of vision loss were confirmed as Amaurosis Fugax and a pre-cursor to a full blown stroke. The doctor said that without the visit to the optician Moray “wouldn’t have made it through the winter”.
Mr Sutherland related: “They told me that the circulation in the artery to my head was 80 per cent down on normal levels. It was a real shock to the system.
“I was given emergency surgery which thankfully was a success, and while I’ve been back for check-ups I’ve had no problems since. It was a very close shave though, and if it wasn’t for the staff at Specsavers I might now be blind or perhaps not even here today.
“The tests they carried out and their diagnosis meant everything moved along very quickly and before any permanent damage could be done. I can’t thank them enough.”
Mr Sutherland also warned other men in his age group not to ignore any small differences they may have noticed in their health in case they were not as lucky as him.