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I was lucky not to lose my eyesight

WAITING for her father-in-law at an opticians’ appointment, Susan Stratful began trying on some frames.

It was a simple act which may have saved her sight. Mrs Stratful visited Kings Hill Opticians in Liberty Square, Kings Hill, with her father-in-law when he went for a sight test. While he was in for his appointment, she began trying on some frames for size and selected a pair she wanted to buy.

She explained that she didn’t have her prescription with her but already visited an opticians near her home in Dartford and had no problems with her vision. But staff insisted the test was done before letting her leave with the frames. When they did, it showed Mrs Stratful had a detached retina, a rare condition which can lead to blindness. She said: “I had no problems with my sight at all, but about a week after the test something dropped in my field of vision. “Just a few days later I had an emergency operation at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. The whole thing happened really quickly and it was quite scary.

“My vision is still a little blurry but it is starting to improve. I’d just like to thank everyone involved.” Practice owner Shatvinder Shoker who carried out the test, said people normally notice some symptoms of a detached retina, such as flashing lights, black spots, or shadows in their vision.

Mr Shoker, who is also principal optometrist at Maidstone Hospital, added: “Although Mrs Stratful had no symptoms, we could see the condition was fresh. It can be quite surprising for patients to be told that after a test, but it is not the first time we have discovered this problem through an eye test.

“If the retina does detach and is left untreated it can lead to blindness. “The main message is that this does show the importance of having regular and thorough eye tests.”

by Mary Graham
Kindly supplied by the Kent Messenger.

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Diagnosis error revealed 15 years on

Juliet Morris, 73, of Sturmer Court, was diagnosed with glaucoma, a condition which, if left untreated, can lead to a reduction of sight or blindness. Glaucoma is a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers a form of damage at the back of the eye.

Since she was diagnosed 15 years ago, Mrs Morris has taken eye drops twice a day, every day, and attended regular check-ups. It was not until she visited Kings Hill Opticians in May last year that new technology was used to check Mrs Morris’ eyes, with the test concluding she did not suffer from the problem.

Two weeks ago she was taken off her medication indefinitely. She said: “I was obviously relieved when I heard. “It hasn’t bothered me too much as it hasn’t stopped me following any of my normal activities, but one does worry it could get worse so it is a relief. “It’s a waste as well because I’ve had drops for 15 years and the cost must mount up.”

She added: “Funnily enough I have a friend in Norfolk and all of a sudden she said she doesn’t have it either.” The International Glaucoma Association’s chief executive David Wright admitted it was becoming more common for people who had been diagnosed with glaucoma to be told they do not have it.

“It’s perfectly likely for people to have been diagnosed with glaucoma who haven’t got it but it doesn’t mean for a moment they don’t develop it in the future,” he said. “It is a cost (for medication) but provided it’s not unnecessary medication there’s not a problem with cost – these people have had 15 years of medication but they see perfectly well, have had regular check-ups and have not suffered. “No harm has been done but in fact some good has.”


  • Glaucoma is the name given to a group of conditions in which the optic nerve suffers a form of damage at the back of the eye. The optic nerve damage causes patchy loss of vision that varies in severity from patient to patient.
  • It can lead to blindness and is the leading cause of preventable blindness.
  • Glaucoma of some type is found in about two per cent of the population over the age of 40. It can also affect children and young adults, although much less frequently.
  • It is estimated that more than 500,000 people suffer from glaucoma in England and Wales.
  • Everyone over 40 years of age should ensure that they have regular sight tests every two years to discover if their eyesight has deteriorated. These tests are a good opportunity to check for any signs of glaucoma.
  • The most common form of glaucoma, primary open angle glaucoma, is sometimes not detected by patients until it has got to an advanced stage. This can be because an unaffected eye can fill in for the other. The detailed central vision is not affected until a late stage and people wrongly assume the reduction in their vision is simply due to age.

by Kristy Bourne
[email protected]

Article suppled by Sevenoaks Chronicle

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My sight was saved by test

AN OFFICE girl is thanking her lucky stars after a routine eye test saved the sight in
one of her eyes.

Charlotte O’Callaghan, 22, a litigation assistant for Cabot Financial in Kings Hill, discovered she had booked her appointment at exactly the right time after her optician discovered her retina was partially detached. She said: “I just went for a routine eye test to get some new glasses and I had no idea anything was wrong – the optician spotted it.

“It was awful – I didn’t know what was going on. “The optician sent me straight to the hospital and they did some tests there, but the hospital told me it wasn’t a retinal detachment. “But then the optician rang me back and said he wasn’t happy and I went back the following morning. “It was very scary.” Retinal detachment is a disorder of the eye in which the retina peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue.

It normally occurs in people much older and there are obvious symptoms, including flashes of light. In Miss O’Callaghan’s case, the retina was attached at the top but had begun to detach at the bottom.


Following further tests, Miss O’Callaghan had an operation and is not expected to suffer any sight problems. She said: “I can’t really do anything for a couple of weeks. It’s a bit sore. “The optician said if I hadn’t gone and if I played squash or something I could have lost my sight in one eye. “There weren’t any symptoms. The optician did ask me if I had floaters or flashes of light, but I didn’t. “I am quite short-sighted, though, and there’s a high risk if you wear glasses.”

She added that she was unsure how the retina had detached because she had not suffered a head injury to cause the detachment. Miss O’Callaghan, who lives in Meopham, said she would now have her eyes tested every six months.

Mr Satvinder Shoker, who runs the opticians in Maidstone Hospital and owns the Kings Hill Optician, recognised the problem. He said: “She hadn’t been in for contact lenses as she had been buying them online, so the test had been put off.”

He added that regular eye tests were very important.

by Harriet Cooke

Article suppled by Sevenoaks Chronicle

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I was lucky not to lose my eyesight

WAITING for her father-in-law at an opticians’ appointment, Susan Stratful began trying on some frames.


Kings Hill Opticians
2 Liberty Square
Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent
ME19 4AU

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Our registered office is at 2 Liberty Square, Kings Hill, West Malling, Kent ME19 4AU.