A GRANDMOTHER has praised a quick-thinking optician for saving her life after he spotted the symptoms of a stroke.
Lynn Hardy was ready to jet off to Portugal on holiday but instead ended up in hospital for tests after Ian Walker, store director at Specsavers Hartlepool, spotted she had a problem.
The 52-year-old had only popped in to the store in Middleton Grange Shopping Centre for advice on a weeping eye as she picked up last minute holiday essentials before she flew off the next day.
But the eagle eyed store director spotted the signs of a stroke and advised her to visit her GP.
The Hartlepool Mail is working with the Stroke Association in a month-long partnership to raise awareness of the devastating condition.
Mrs Hardy said: “I explained to Ian about my eye and he took a photo of my face on his mobile phone.
“He showed it to me and asked if I thought it looked like my normal, smiling face. I could see there was swelling on my mouth and it was crooked.”
Along with husband Ian, 64, Mrs Hardy visited a health clinic before being admitted to hospital.
After undergoing various tests, including CT and MRI scans, she was diagnosed with a bleed on the left side of her brain.
The grandmother-of-two is still on medication, and continues to suffer from a weeping eye and a slight twist on her face, but is hopeful of a full recovery.
Mrs Hardy added: “The week after I was released from hospital I went to see Ian to thank him for saving my life.
“It seemed so insignificant saying those words, but there are no words to convey how grateful I am. If I got on that plane, I don’t know what would have happened to me.
“Ian was so calm at the time, but when I went back to see him he said he thought I’d had a stroke, but didn’t want to frighten me, and so suggested I get medical advice.”
Mrs Hardy, who is hoping to make the trip to Portugal later this year, has been reminding friends and family of the importance of regular eye checks.
Mr Walker said: “When Lynn came into the store I immediately became suspicious as my late father had a stroke many years ago and my aunt is currently housebound after suffering a stroke in October.
“A stroke is a terrible thing, they can alter your life so much, and of course they can happen at any age.
“Lynn’s case is a reminder of the importance of regular eye tests as they can highlight many conditions, from diabetes to brain tumours.
“We are delighted Lynn is on the road to recovery and wish her well for the future.”