‘I was speechless’ - man says he was wrongly diagnosed with cataracts at Specsavers

Martin Wells with his wife Karen. Mr Wells was told he would need £500 worth of varifocal photochrom

Martin Wells with his wife Karen. Mr Wells was told he would need £500 worth of varifocal photochromatic lenses after a visit to the opticians. Picture: Martin and Karen Wells - Credit: Archant

An investigation is under way after a man says he was misdiagnosed with cataracts and told he would need £500 worth of special glasses.

When Martin Wells visited Specsavers in White Lion Lane, Norwich, last October he expected nothing more than to go home with a new pair of glasses.

But the 70 year-old from Coltishall was shocked to be told he had advanced bilateral cataracts and should invest in £500 worth of varifocal photochromic glasses.

Karen Wells, Mr Wells' wife, who was with him at the eye test, said: "It was a routine eye test because he hadn't had one for three years [and] his glasses were getting old.

"[The optometrist] took a long time with one of the machines and said unfortunately I need to tell you that you have got cataracts in your eyes."

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Concerned by the diagnosis, especially because Mr Wells hadn't previously experienced any problems with his eyesight, the couple sought a second opinion from a clinician at Moorfields Hospital Eye Hospital in London.

They were told Mr Wells had no signs of cataracts and in fact had 20/20 vision.

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Following the experience Mr and Mrs Wells have complained to Specsavers and The General Optical Council, the statutory body which regulates optometrists and opticians in the UK.

Mrs Wells said the whole experience had been very distressing.

"I don't cry easily and my husband is very stoic," she said. "I was thinking this is old age setting in and I had got upset a few times, with the operation there's a risk of blindness and it was all quite distressing."

Mr Wells said: "When [the optometrist] told me I had cataracts I said to [them] I was speechless to be honest.

"Your eyes do deteriorate as you get older but not to that point where you have cataracts.

"I wouldn't want it to happen to anyone else.

"We want reassurance that it won't happen again I would also like to hear from the optometrist that [they're] having further training."

A spokesperson for Specsavers said: "At Specsavers, we pride ourselves on offering high levels of clinical care and are very sorry that Mr Wells was dissatisfied with the care he received.

"However, given that Mr Wells has raised his concerns with the General Optical Council (who will be undertaking their own investigation) it would be inappropriate for us to provide any further comments at this time."

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