A MAN who thought he had his glaucoma under control has praised Specsavers Ópticas in La Zenia after the optometrist’s quick-thinking actions saved him from potentially losing his sight in both eyes.

Douglas Addison, who had a family history of glaucoma and was first diagnosed with it 10 years ago, noticed he was losing his peripheral vision last year- a common sign that the glaucoma is permanently damaging sight.

He booked an eye test at Specsavers Ópticas and the optometrist found that his eye pressure was extremely high. They urgently referred Mr Addison to hospital where they confirmed his diagnosis and performed a surgical procedure to stop the glaucoma getting worse.

Unfortunately, he lost 75% of the vision in his right eye. But Mr Addison remains very grateful to the team at Specsavers Ópticas in La Zenia for the referral, and the surgical team who stopped him losing vision in both eyes.

Glaucoma is a common eye condition where the optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain, becomes damaged. It’s usually caused by fluid building up in the front part of the eye, which increases pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if it’s not diagnosed and treated early. But, although any vision which has been lost to glaucoma cannot be recovered, with early diagnosis, careful monitoring and regular treatment, most people retain useful sight for life.

Mr Addison wants to tell his story to raise awareness of the importance of regular eye tests, not simply to see if you need glasses, but to check the health of your eyes and protect your vision.

‘I knew I had glaucoma and my father had it too, but it wasn’t causing me any issues until I noticed a loss of my peripheral vision. I went straight to Specsavers Ópticas in La Zenia, as I know they offer comprehensive eye tests, and they told me that my eye pressure was really high and that I should take their referral letter to A&E straight away.

‘At the hospital they moved quickly, and I had an operation on the area behind my tear duct, called the Schlemm canal, to lower intraocular pressure. This operation will stop the glaucoma getting worse, but unfortunately there is no way to restore my sight.

‘I have lost 75% of my vision in my right eye and am left with permanently hazy vision. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s like when you’ve been in the sun and walk into a dark room and your eyes feel hazy and unfocused. I have that all the time!

‘I would say to anyone who hasn’t had their eyes tested before, or hasn’t had their eyes tested for a while, please do it. It is very, very important. Vision loss can happen to anyone, so don’t take your sight for granted.

‘I’d also like to say a big thank you to the team at Specsavers Ópticas in La Zenia. If their optometrist hadn’t sent me to A&E, I would be blind. While I did lose sight in one eye, I can lead a full life and am so grateful that with the operation and treatment my vision won’t get worse.’

Store Director Francisco Jurado adds: ‘During Mr Addison’s eye test we checked his eye pressure and found that they were 60 mmHg in his right eye and 41 mmHg in his left eye. As the normal range is considered between 15 and 20 mmHg and anything over 25 mmHg is an indicator of glaucoma, we knew that this was serious. His vision had already been damaged and he was at high risk of losing his sight completely. We wrote him a referral letter with our findings and recommendations and told him to go straight to A&E.

‘At his follow-up appointment with us a few weeks after his first visit, we were delighted to be able to tell him that his pressure was stable and his treatment was working. We saw him again in May this year, for his routine sight test and were pleased to see that his pressure remains stable and while the peripheric vision and fields of view in the right eye have been affected, his main visual acuity is quite good. It is a pleasure to see him so well and receive his thanks for saving his sight.’

Glaucoma is often referred to as the silent thief of sight as in most cases it doesn’t display any symptoms and high eye pressure is only one of the parameters which indicates it is developing. One of the best ways to detect glaucoma is during a routine eye test, which includes visual health checks – that’s why it’s so important to have one regularly. Specsavers Ópticas recommends everyone should have an eye test every two years, unless they are experiencing any problems or advised by an optometrist.

There are six Specsavers Ópticas stores on the Costa Blanca; in Javea, Calpe, Benidorm, Torrevieja, Guardamar and La Zenia and complete eye tests are free. To book an appointment at your nearest store visit www.specsavers.es.

Caption: Reni Zawislak & Francisco Jurado Specsavers La Zenia & Douglas Addison