A new job as a receptionist at an Ilkeston optician’s led to a young woman being diagnosed with a condition that could have left her blind in one of her eyes.
Luckily Lauren Swepstone, 25, of Albany Street in Ilkeston had been working at Specsavers on Bath Street for three months when she started experiencing problems in her right eye.
She said: “I’d suffered from conjunctivitis in the past – so assumed it was just another flare up.
“It started to cause a lot of irritation which is when I decided to book an appointment.”
After seeking the advice of store optician Simon Knight and in-store contact lens consultant Donna Earnshaw, it was revealed that the blood cells in her eye were inflamed and her pupil was fixed in one position.
Lauren went on to be diagnosed with iritis, an infection in the eye, which had caused increased pressure build up.
Without treatment it could have resulted in the loss of her sight in the right eye.
She was immediately referred to the specialist eye centre at the Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham.
Lauren added: “If I hadn’t been working for an optician’s I probably would have just ignored it, but because I worked at Specsavers I had learnt how important eye exams were for potential problems.
“It was a worrying experience but I’m so thankful I now know what it was - I just want to thank the staff here who proved instrumental in diagnosing the problem.
“A job at an optician’s proved to be the right choice for me in more ways that one and made me appreciate the importance of eye exams.”
Simon Knight, who has worked as an optician at the Ilkeston store for seven years, said: “We don’t see many cases of iritis in store but when Lauren came to see me I suspected she was suffering with it.”
He added: “The fact that Lauren might have just put this down to conjunctivitis and not considered visiting an optician’s really does highlight the need for more education around the importance of regular eye examinations.”
Fortunately, Lauren’s eye infection was caught at the right time and a course of medication was prescribed to treat the condition.
However she will still need to attend regular check-ups at the hospital to make sure it is kept at bay.