Amandeep Bains was told she had the symptoms of coronavirus but her optician uncle Satvinder Shoker noticed something which would save her the 23-year-old's life
A woman says she owes her life to her uncle after he spotted a potentially fatal blood clot despite doctors claiming she had coronavirus symptoms. Amandeep Bains started noticing rashes and joint pain in January which doctors initially told her were caused by eczema and arthritis.
But as the Covid-19 pandemic took over the country, the 23-year-old's symptoms became more severe with headaches, dizziness and short blackouts impacting her everyday life.
She was diagnosed with coronavirus. But Miss Bains, from London, felt her symptoms were more serious so she contacted her uncle Satvinder Shoker who runs Kings Hill Opticians with the hope of getting some answers.
After speaking on the phone Mr Shoker, who has been running the practice in West Malling, Kent, for 15 years, asked his niece to come in for tests the following day as he suspected she may need urgent medical attention.
The optician who used to head the Eye Department at Maidstone Hospital found there were haemorrhages in the blood vessels behind both her eyes and her optic nerves were extremely swollen.
Mr Shoker, 39, said: "I sent her straight to the Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor and gave her copies of all the scans that I had taken, so that she could give them to whoever saw her."
Further tests over the next few days revealed Miss Bains had a blood clot caused by two underlying chronic conditions which she previously knew nothing about.
She was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease which causes her body to attack her red blood cells, and Hughes Syndrome, which causes "sticky blood".
Sticky blood syndrome is a major cause of strokes in people under the age of 50 and just like Miss Bains, it is often only diagnosed after a person has had a number of blood clots....
By Kelly-Ann Mills
Kindly supplied by the Mirror
A great grandfather from Kent says he is eternally grateful to an optician who prevented him from having a major stroke. Graham Butteriss, from Tonbridge, was fast tracked by our Optometrist Linzi Bacon when she realised there was a potentially serious cause to his intermittent blurred vision. Scans revealed a 70-80% blockage in an artery in his neck – and he was told he was lucky he had not already had a major stroke.
Graham Butteriss and Linzi Bacon
71-year-old Mr Butteriss, who has six children, five stepchildren, 22 grandchildren and six great grandchildren, was told by his doctor to see an optician in August when his right eye became blurry whenever he bent down or lifted anything heavy. Within less than a week of going to the opticians he had undergone scans revealing that he had probably already had two minor strokes and was waiting for emergency surgery to clear the blockage on his artery.
‘I am eternally grateful to Linzi Bacon for detecting something was not right in my eye and definitely saving me from a major stroke,’ commented the part-time caretaker, who lives in Cardinal Close. ‘When the consultants saw the extent of the blockage on my artery, they were amazed I hadn’t already had a serious stroke. I am very lucky to be here – and very lucky that Linzi picked up the warning signs and rushed me through the system.’
Senior Optometrist Linzi Bacon spent several years working in high-street outlets before joining the Kings Hill Opticians family. ‘The eyes give a real window into general health, so a major part of our training is understanding the underlying complications that can manifest in changes in vision and eye health,’ she explained. ‘Although Mr Butteriss has regular eye checks because of a family history of glaucoma, I knew when I examined him that there was something serious that needed investigating straight away, and am delighted that my colleagues in the hospitals were able to act so quickly to investigate and solve the problem, so that Mr Butteriss is no longer in immediate risk of a major stroke.’
The blockage was removed by vascular surgeon Waleed Edrees at Medway Maritime Hospital just 10 days after Mr Butteriss visited Linzi. ‘This was a very severe blockage in the main artery that supplies the brain and was potentially very dangerous. Mr Butteriss is very lucky that the optician who examined his eyes identified this and made an urgent referral for him to the vascular unit. Blockage in the main artery that supplies the brain is one of the leading causes of stroke. Careful examination of the eye can identify changes that indicate blockage in the main artery that supplies the brain leading to further investigations and surgery to prevent stroke.’
‘I never go to the doctor for anything at all, and would probably have put the blurred vision down to old age, if I hadn’t felt a bit of pressure in my eye and thought I ought to get it checked out as my nephew was born blind from glaucoma and both my brother and sister now have it,’ said Mr Butteriss. ‘I also had two instances in the previous three weeks in which my left leg had gone completely lame, and I had put those down to old age as well. But it turns out they were probably minor strokes and it was all related.’
The 71-year-old, who works part-time as a caretaker at Zoe Evans Childcare in Holborough near Snodland, was left with a scar from his ear to the top of his neck following the surgery to remove the blockage, but says this is a small price to pay. ‘Even though the scar is seven inches long, it’s almost completely gone now, and I am gradually getting back to normal,’ he commented. ‘I was talking to a chap shortly after the operation whose best friend had just died of a stroke in his 30s. It brings it all home – and make me realise how lucky I am that Linzi acted so quickly.
PHOTO CREDIT: Emily Brown Photography
As seen on South East News on Saturday Evening,....
A Kent businessman says he owes his life to Kings Hill Opticians, who spotted the early signs of an extremely rare tumour – after he was given the all clear by another optician.
31-year-old property developer Tim Vince, from Maidstone, has spent six months recovering from complications resulting from having a large, two-in-a-million craniopharyngioma tumour removed, but he says he may not be alive if Satvinder Shoker, who runs Kings Hill Opticians, hadn’t spotted the early warning signs.
Lucky to be alive
‘Sat Shoker saved my life,’ said Mr Vince. ‘If he hadn’t seen that something was wrong and made me an urgent referral to the hospital, and if the tumour hadn’t been diagnosed or if I had just been fobbed off like I was when I first went for an eye test at a high-street chain because my vision wasn’t right, who knows what could have happened. If Mr Shoker hadn’t got me in the system so quickly, I could have lost my eyesight, or I could have died. Even though my tumour was benign, when it’s in the brain it doesn’t have anywhere to expand into, so the consequences are serious.’
His wife, 33-year-old Sarah, who had to give up work to look after her husband, agrees he is lucky to be alive: ‘Sat Shoker has completely saved Tim’s life by getting him straight into the system. If it wasn’t for him, Tim may not be here. The last few months have been horrendous. But we are through the worst of it now and out the other side – but this is life-changing for us both because of the pituitary condition Tim is now left with.’
Two in a million tumour
The seven-hour operation to remove the tumour was carried out by consultant neurosurgeon Nicholas Thomas of King’s Hospital, London, who confirms how lucky Mr Vince has been: ‘A craniopharyngioma is a rare tumour. It often occurs in children but there is a peak incidence also in adults. It has a prevalence of about two cases per one million.
‘Patients do often present with visual symptoms and it was astute of the optician to detect the changes. The earlier that a patient presents for a definitive treatment of the tumour, the more chance there is of ensuring that vision is preserved.’
Mr Vince first went to a high-street optician last October; they called him back for a second test, but concluded
there was nothing wrong and gave him a prescription for glasses. However, when these made no difference to his sight, his wife urged him to go to local independent opticians, Kings Hill Opticians. When the founder and director, Satvinder Shoker, saw Mr Vince’s test results, he immediately fast-tracked his hospital referral.
‘These tumours are very rare – I have only seen two in my career, even as the head of Maidstone Hospital opticians’ department for 15 years. The warning signs were there – that’s why I made sure Mr Vince was fast-tracked through the referral process to the hospital – but you have to know what you’re looking for and look beyond the headline results of simple eye tests,’ explained Mr Shoker.
‘This means having enough time with each patient and the right equipment. To identify problems like Mr Vince’s tumour early often means investing in time, experience and industry-leading diagnostic equipment, but I’ve seen the consequences when conditions like this aren’t detected early, so I believe in making the investments, so we can be confident we can deliver the best possible eye health for our patients.’
The complications Mr Vince has suffered since having the tumour removed have included serious hormonal imbalances, as a result of his pituitary gland being damaged in the operation (a known complication), pneumonia and an infection in the lining of his nose, which meant he couldn’t taste or smell anything.
As a self-employed businessman, Mr Vince has had to keep running his business, Penenden Heath Developments Limited, which employs 10 people in East Farleigh throughout the six months of complications since the operation on 18 February: ‘I run my own business, so I didn’t have a choice but to keep on working during all of this – I was trying to run my business from hospital!
‘I was in hospital for two weeks following the operation while they tried to sort out my hormones. Two weeks later I ended back in because I couldn’t balance properly and had slurred ; this as terrifying as it was so hard to get to the bottom of this and what was going on. I was in for another fortnight while they adjusted the cocktail of hormones. And then I was back in for another two and a half weeks with pneumonia. Then, when I finally came out of hospital for good at the end of April, I got an infection in my nose – a one in a hundred complication from the operation to remove the tumour. This is still ongoing, and the antibiotics are never ending.’
Sarah says it has taken months to get back to normal and feel as though they can begin to get on with their lives again: ‘Everything should have been fairly straight forward, but every complication it was possible to have, Tim got, so it’s been months to get to a point where we can look forward again. It feels like Tim is nearly back to how he was before.’
Missed warning signs
But she is still cross that the warning signs weren’t picked up in her husband’s first eye test: ‘I can’t believe that the other opticians didn’t pick up the warning signs at the start. They asked Tim to come back for a second test, so they must have had some sense that things weren’t quite right. If they are both opticians, they should see the same thing, so why didn’t the original optician who tested Tim’s eyes pick it up in the first place?
‘I had advised Tim to go to Kings Hill Opticians in the first place, but he had got an offer for a cheap eye test from a high-street chain, so that’s why he went there. Fortunately, he did decide to get a second opinion from Kings Hill Opticians when the glasses he was prescribed by the first opticians didn’t make any difference. Without Kings Hill Opticians and Sat Shoker, he might not be here today.’
Tim agrees that he won’t be looking for cheap eyecare solutions again: ‘I recommend Kings Hill Opticians now to everyone. Everyone wants to pay a tenner for an eye test, but you have to look at the bigger picture.’
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.
See full article
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.”
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
Read the full article
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If you’re planning on hitting the slopes this winter, it is important to look after your eyes. Ultra violet light can be more powerful on the ski slopes because of the snow’s reflectiveness, so it’s vital that you prepare properly and get the right protection. Our expert opticians explain the dangers high levels of exposure can cause, and what you need to do to look after your eyes.
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We all know that the main role of glasses is to enable you to see clearly, but they become part of your face and personality, so it’s important that they make you feel and look fabulous as well.
Optician stopped me having a major stroke
As seen on South East News on Saturday Evening,....
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Opticians awards 2018
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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.