Eye test saved Oulton Broad man from major stroke

Quick thinking opticians saved a man from serious illness when they discovered he was having a stroke during an eye examination.

John Hutchin, 75, had gone to the Specsavers in Lowestoft town centre after he started losing his sight while he was having breakfast with his wife.

After an eye test showed problems with his peripheral vision Mr Hutchin was sent straight to the James Paget University Hospital (JPUH) in Gorleston. Once at the hospital doctors realised Mr Hutchin, from Oulton Broad near Lowestoft, was having a minor stroke that resulted in loss of vision.

The former Bank of England worker spent a week in hospital and has now been prescribed medication to help cope with the after affects of his 'mini-stroke'.

Convinced that because of his insistence of going to Specsavers to be tested and the fast actions of optometrist Martin Jones he was spared from suffering a much more serious stroke.

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Mr Hutchin said: 'How can I thank Martin enough? It is impossible to say it in words.

'I am sure things would have been worse if I had not gone to Specsavers and been seen by Mr Jones.'

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Describing the events of March 31 the father-of-two said: 'I was having breakfast with my wife, Jeanette, when I started seeing what I call jazzy lines at the side of my vision. Then all of I sudden could not even see my wife from across the table. I thought it was serious, I was worried I was going blind and I would be able to see again.

'I rang up Specsavers and told them what had happened and they said come down.

'Martin did the full range of tests. He then said something was wrong and that I should go to the hospital straight away. He gave me a letter to take and looked very stern.

'Who knows what would have happened if I did not go and see him?'

South African Mr Jones, who has been an optometrist for 34 years, admitted he rarely needed to send patients to hospital after a routine eye test.

He said: 'I am pleased I could help John. If you have a problem with your eyes your optician should always be the first option.'

Surveys regularly show that most people cannot name the three main symptoms of a stroke, yet strokes claim 67,000 lives a year and are the leading cause of disability according to the NHS.

The public is encouraged to carry out the Face-Arm-Speech-Time (FAST) test if they fear someone is having a stroke. The test checks if a person's face fallen on one side, whether they can raise both arms, and whether speech is slurred.

Optometrists can spot internal signs of a stroke during eye tests as well as medical conditions such as glaucoma and cancer.

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