Hoddesdon man could have lost his eyesight to shingles – but his sight was saved after calling local Specsavers

A Hoddesdon man was diagnosed with shingles after he noticed problems with his eyesight and that the left side of his face was puffy. He could have gone blind, but a phone call to his opticians and a quick diagnosis saved his sight.

After noticing the puffiness in his face, he called the Specsavers store on Hoddesdon’s high street one March morning. He spoke to an apprentice, Dora, and she was able to capture all his symptoms and general health details over the phone.

Over the phone, he explained to resident optometrist Jo Franco that he had a swollen eyelid, redness and headaches for several days and a lump near his left ear. She urged the patient to seek immediate care and go directly to the accident and emergency department.

Read more: Plans to transform Stevenage bus station into new public square with space for events and performances

At A&E, the patient was diagnosed with shingles in his left eye. Shingles in the eyes can seriously affect your sight or hearing and makes it harder to move one side of your face.

When left untreated, shingles can lead to sight loss. It can often occur in the eye when certain dormant viruses in your body are reactivated, causing shingles to develop.

Fortunately, he was given an early diagnosis. The apprentice, Dora, had been able to accurately detail his condition using the Minor Eye Conditions Service triage form (MECS). This meant that Jo could offer expert advice.

Jo Franco, resident optometrist
Jo Franco, resident optometrist
(Image: Specsavers)

The patient was so grateful with the help that he eventually bought Jo flowers to thank her. Kartik Bharadia, Ophthalmic Director at Specsavers Hoddesdon, said: “I’m so glad that we were able to spot the patient’s condition quickly before it became a detriment to his eyesight and general health.

“With shingles, it can be easy to dismiss the symptoms of painful, itchy eyes and headaches as nothing, so calling your local optometrists and having them use the MECS triage to further investigate will save you time and energy as you can simply find out on the phone if there is a cause for concern.

“Similarly, it can take up to four weeks to heal from it and even longer until you feel no pain from the infected area. Calling us as soon as you start to feel harsher symptoms will allow us to begin the healing process. I would always recommend customers with any sudden onset of vision change to call their optician urgently.

“Our store in Hoddesdon has been using MECS triages for some time and that is what allowed us to identify his condition. MECS triage forms help us to gain an initial overview of the health of your eyes. With this information, we can then advise you on what you will need to do next, whether it is to come into the store for a check-up or if you need to see a doctor or specialist.”

Sign up for our newsletters.

Contact us with your stories.

HertsLive – Hemel Hempstead