Routine eye test revealed Cowplain man suffered mini stroke

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A MAN is encouraging people to prioritise their sight, after an eye test revealed a mini stroke was behind his sudden loss of vision.

Stuart Heath, from Cowplain, ignored small changes in his vision until a routine test at the Vision Express store in Portsmouth showed he had had a stroke.

I would urge anyone who has a similar experience to go to A&E straightaway, and always prioritise your eye health

Stuart Heath

The keen cyclist said in hindsight he should have gone to A&E and is warning others to not take chances.

Stuart, 50, said: ‘It was a normal day when I lost the vision in the lower half of my eye for a couple of minutes.

‘I should have gone to A&E. But, as my sight returned quickly, I decided to wait and mention it at my regular eye test, which was scheduled for the following week.’

James Ward, acting store manager at The Cascades store, said when Stuart mentioned his loss of vision, they took it very seriously.

‘Any changes in your field of vision, including blurriness, loss of parts of your vision, flashing lights or spots in your vision need to be investigated as soon as possible,’ he said.

Stuart, a civil servant, was referred to his GP and from there attended an emergency appointment at Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham.

The examining optometrist told Stuart he had experienced a transient ischaemic attack (TIA) – or a mini stroke.

Following extensive testing, Stuart’s blood pressure and cholesterol were found to be within healthy ranges.

Despite having no additional typical TIA symptoms, the consultant advised that his vision loss was more than likely caused by a blockage in the blood vessel, cutting off the blood supply to part of his brain.

As a result of Stuart’s diagnosis, he has been prescribed aspirin and statins to prevent a more serious stroke occurring in the future.

He added: ‘I’m so glad I have always kept my regular eye test appointments.

‘I know for certain that if I hadn’t had an eye test booked I wouldn’t have found out the cause behind my loss of vision.

‘I would urge anyone who has a similar experience to go to A&E straightaway, and always prioritise your eye health. It can be an indication of underlying conditions you might not be aware of.’

Vision Express offers an eye test to the College of Optometrists best practice guidelines.

James added: ‘People don’t realise how much an eye test can pick up.

‘Many conditions have little or no symptoms, so regular testing is vital to ensure that any issues are identified and treated quickly.’