check proves a life saver for Burnham-On-Sea pensioner
A new county-wide eyesight health check service has proved a potential
life saver for a Burnham-On-Sea pensioner.
For the last six months NHS Somerset has been working with optometrists
across the county developing a new and free eye assessment service
called Acute Community Eyecare Service (ACES).
service is for local NHS patients experiencing a recent eye problem
such as reduced vision, red or painful eyes, flashes or floaters,
double vision or watering of the eye.
Stanley Powell, 89, from Burnham, became aware of just such a
problem with his sight last December.
On the advice of his doctor, he visited the ACES eye service at
his local opticians and on examination, staff were so concerned
at what they found they referred him to an eye specialist at Taunton's
Musgrove Park Hospital.
It turned out to be a serious eye tumour and the consultant at
Musgrove Park Hospital quickly realised that Mr Powell would need
to be referred on to one of the countrys top eye specialists
if he was to stand any chance of successful treatment.
By the first week of January this year, Mr Powell had been referred
to the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and he faced the unenviable
choice of either having his eye removed or risking the tumour
growing still larger and becoming untreatable. Mr Powell opted
to have his eye removed.
Now recovering at his Burnham home, Mr Powell is looking forward
to soon having a glass eye fitted at Tauntons Musgrove Park
Hospital. However, as he reflected upon that fateful day in December
this week, he expressed his gratitude to his local optometrists
and the ACES eye service, his hospital specialists and the prompt
action of the health professionals involved.
"When I first became aware of a problem it was as though
I could see a small feather shape in part of my right eye. There
was no pain, but I have always kept myself in good health and
always sought advice from my GP just in case there was a problem,"
he told Burnham-On-Sea.com.
"You can imagine my surprise when he said I should go straight
away to my local optician and they would check my eye for any
problem. They did and shortly after examining my eye they said
they would refer me immediately to an eye specialist at Musgrove
Park Hospital that afternoon and even suggested that I
might need to take an overnight bag in case they wanted me to
stay in overnight or have immediate treatment."
was very pleased with the care and attention I have received from
everyone. All the necessary arrangements were made to get me to
hospital and ensure my surgery was performed quickly, said Mr
advice to anyone who finds that they have trouble with their eyes
is to always get them checked out. Visiting the ACES service at
your local optician couldnt be easier. There is no point
in putting off an eye check. The problem could be a lot more serious
than you think as I discovered, so dont delay,"added
David Bull, the optometrist on Burnham High Street whose staff
helped Mr Powell, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "As optometrists,
we feel the ACES service is helping a great many people who might
otherwise ignore common eye problems. We all lead busy lives but
some eye problems not only impair your sight, which is dangerous,
but can also indicate an underlying health problem. Your sight
is precious and its therefore important to always check
out any problems when they arise."
ACES is free to any patient registered with a Somerset GP and
is provided by skilled accredited optometrists through opticians
participating in the new scheme.
Patients can access the services by either contacting one of the
approved opticians or your family doctor who may refer you. Appointments
are available during normal working hours and patients will normally
be seen within 24 hours.
During your free eye assessment the optometrist will assess your
symptoms and ask about any history you may have of eye problems.
If necessary, they will offer a follow-up appointment or refer
you to a GP. If the condition is serious you will be referred
onto a hospital eye service.