What started as a routine eye check turned into emergency sight-saving surgery for one Aldwick woman.
Eileen Breeze, 54, suffers from Type 1 diabetes, and after a series of routine NHS eye checks were cancelled, she decided to book for a private eye health check.
When she arrived at Optegra Eye Hospital in Hampshire, a surgeon found that a number of blood vessels had burst due to her diabetes, and she underwent emergency laser treatment surgery that day.
Reflecting on her traumatic ordeal on Christmas Eve, 2013, Eileen, said: “One of my sisters runs the eye hospital and said I should book a check because I’d been having blurred vision.
“I’d just put it down to being tired and using computers every day so I was shocked when I was told by the diabetic consultant that I couldn’t leave without surgery because the damage was that bad.
“It was terrifying, I was told I would completely lose my vision without it or at best have impaired vision.”
Thankfully the surgery and after treatment was a success and Eileen now enjoys near perfect vision in both her eyes.
“I am just so relieved that I did not leave the checkups any longer,” said Eileen, a triplet who is a director of her own company, Boost Pay
“It is frightening to think what could have happened, and it has made me realise how precious my eyesight is.”
She says she now makes sure her two children have yearly eye tests and urges everyone else to do the same.
“My mother-in-law had fuzzy vision, she was away and left it until she got back and she’s now lost her sight in one eye,” Eileen said.
“It’s so scary to think that could easily have happened to me, you take your sight for granted but without it life would be so difficult.”
People with diabetes are particularly at risk of cataract, glaucoma and damage to the retina.
Ahead of Diabetes Awareness Week, from June 12-18, a specialist has warned of the importance of regular eye checks, even for those without any medical conditions.
Mr Andrew Luff, ophthalmic surgeon at Optegra Eye Health Care, said: “Eileen’s case really does demonstrate how essential it is to keep check on eye health – particularly for those with a condition such as diabetes, which can directly impact on the eyes.
“In the space of just a few months, Eileen’s eye health was in a critical condition.
“Thankfully there are many treatment options available but it is essential to treat such conditions as quickly as possible to avoid the risk of irreversible damage.
“If someone with diabetes suffers from blurring, fluctuating vision, or notices reduced colour or blank, empty areas in their vision, these are clear warning signs and they should seek urgent medical advice.”
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