How visit to opticians to have glasses loosened 'saved the life' of a Hartlepool gran

A grandmother’s life was potentially saved when she was rushed to hospital after initially visiting her opticians to have her glasses loosened.

Thursday, 25th March 2021, 4:01 pm
Updated Friday, 26th March 2021, 11:49 am

Cynthia Corbett’s family thought at first that her headaches and pain behind her eyes were caused by her spectacles being too tight.

By the time she went to her Hartlepool opticians for a test, however, the problems had deteriorated and she was experiencing double vision in her right eye.

A scan revealed that she was likely to be suffering from giant cell arteritis – which can ultimately trigger fatal strokes or aneurysms – and she was rushed to Sunderland Eye Infirmary for an emergency operation.

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Grateful Hartlepool grandmother Cynthia Corbett with Specsavers optician Craig Walker.

She remained in hospital for three days, has lost partial vision in her right eye and will continue to take steroids for the next year.

But she is thankfully recovering back at her Hartlepool home and ready for a game of bingo when the town’s Mecca Bingo hall finally reopens once coronavirus restrictions ease.

Grateful grand-daughter Georgia Williams, who accompanied 75-year-old Cynthia to her appointment at Specsavers, in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre, has now said: “Despite her losing some of her sight in her right eye, looking at the bigger picture this has actually saved her life.”

The pair have thanked store optometrist Craig Walker for realising how serious her condition potentially was.

Georgia Williams, left, with grandmother Cynthia Corbett, whose life was potentially saved after she was rushed to hospital following an initial visit to her opticians to have her glasses loosened.

Sales manager Georgia, 25, from Hartlepool, said: ‘I thought maybe my gran’s glasses were too tight. But by the time we got to Specsavers she was having double vision in her right eye.

"We mentioned this to staff in store and optometrist Craig, who did her eye test back in August, also got involved in the conversation.

"He was keen to get an eye test ASAP so he booked my gran in for an appointment just two days later.”

Cynthia’s vision deteriorated further over the weekend and by the day of the appointment she could only see about a quarter of what she was used to.

Mr Walker said: “Following Mrs Corbett’s eye test, there was clear disruption in the superior portion of the retina with a paler colour, suggestive of branch retinal artery occlusion.

“Combined with the fact she only had a field of vision in her right eye, I knew right away this was a very serious cause for concern and an alarming symptom.”

Speaking about her grandmother’s spell in hospital last November, Georgia said: “Within days my gran was feeling much better and more like herself.

“The hospital did a biopsy shortly after and it was confirmed that she had giant cell arteritis.

“Despite her losing some of her sight in her right eye, looking at the bigger picture this has actually saved her life.

“We were all so worried about her so we are glad that she is on the mend.

“It just goes to show how important eye tests are even though her eye test was only months ago.

"We are so glad we popped into Specsavers.”

Cynthia’s family are well known in town after previously owning chippies such as Mike’s Fish Bar, in Brenda Road.

Giant cell arteritis, sometimes known as temporal arteritis, is a serious condition where arteries become inflamed and can cause interrupted blood flow to vital tissues such as eyes.

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