EARLY diagnosis of wet macular degeneration by an Oxfordshire optician helped save an elderly woman's sight - and now she is warning others of the condition. 

Olwyn Mason, 70, from Bicester had noticed some changes in her vision when reading so she made an appointment at a local Specsavers.

As part of the comprehensive eye examination, which was carried out by Suresh Mahandru, an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan was performed. 

This allows the optician to see the eye in even greater detail, a level of diagnostic capability which previously would have needed a hospital visit.

Mrs Mason said: "I do get my eyes tested every two years, but made an appointment when I noticed some changes to the print when reading. 

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"Suresh showed me the images of my eye and talked me through his findings in a very calm, reassuring and professional manner. From his findings he told me that I needed to get it checked at hospital."

As part of the eye test, the optician could see that Mrs Mason had significantly reduced vision in her right eye.

Mr Mahandru said: "Initially, I was unable to detect any issues on the outermost visible surface of the retina, but when I examined the images from the OCT, I could see that there were fluid filed spaces within the retina itself which simply couldn’t be seen without the use of the scan.

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‘I immediately referred Mrs Mason to her GP who in turn, referred her straight away to the eye department at the John Radcliffe Hospital."

Mrs Mason’s referral to the eye hospital came through within a week and when she was seen, a diagnosis of wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) was confirmed. 

Macular degeneration is a chronic eye disorder that causes blurred vision or a blind spot in the visual field. If left, this could have resulted in a loss of vision.

The consultant at the John Radcliffe Hospital made a treatment plan which included regular reviews.

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Mrs Mason said: "I recently returned to Specsavers for an eye test, the results of which showed improved vision. I’ve absolutely no doubt that this was helped by the prompt action of Suresh and I’m very grateful for his professional knowledge and skill. 

"I’m aware that my vision has improved and I would strongly encourage anyone who notices a problem to make an appointment with their optician."

This week is Macular Week, where charity Macular Society is highlighting the impact of macular disease and why funding research to find a cure is so vital.

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