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Patient grateful after West Norfolk optometrists save her sight remotely

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Optometrists at Wigram and Ware Opticians have helped to save the sight of their patients by diagnosing conditions through their new video and telephone consultation service.

The independent opticians, based in Lynn and Dersingham, have launched the services as the practices can no longer provide routine appointments, but are open for emergency procedures.

Benefitting from the practice’s telephone service was Amanda Knight, a 58-year-old magazine blogger and editor who was referred to hospital by optometrist Sarah Baldock after she suspected a detached retina.

Amanda Knight (34593185)
Amanda Knight (34593185)

Wigram and Ware was alerted to Amanda’s condition after a GP contacted the practice suspecting there may be a bleed in her eye. But after relaying her symptoms, Sarah believed a detached retina, which can cause this type of vision loss, was the likely issue and contacted the hospital immediately.

After an emergency appointment at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, Amanda is on the road to recovery and is extremely thankful for the care she received from Wigram and Ware.

She said: “I know that lots of people are worried about contacting doctors or hospitals during coronavirus because they think they will take up someone’s time, but that’s not the case and it’s still really important. If I had sat on it another week, I may not have had such a positive outcome.

“Not only did Sarah spot the issue and contacted the hospital, she has phoned me twice since to see how I’ve been getting on, so I’ve been very impressed. I’m not even a patient at the practice but they will definitely be my opticians from now on.

Sarah Baldock (34593196)
Sarah Baldock (34593196)

“I’m really grateful to the practice as I could have lost my sight; it was because of Sarah’s quick thinking that that did not happen, so I can’t thank her enough.”

Wigram and Ware’s video consultation service helped to save the sight of a patient who was experiencing increased discomfort and redness in her eye.

But if it wasn’t for the practice’s video consultation, the patient could have lost their vision in that eye as Optometrist Linda Vernon-Wood was able to deduce that the redness was scleritis, which was more serious than first thought. Linda then referred them to hospital for emergency treatment.

Optometrist Sarah Baldock said: “Both of these cases go to show how important it is that opticians stay open; in Amanda’s case she could have been booked her in for an appointment at the hospital in a few months’ time, which would have been too late.

Linda Vernon-Wood (34593171)
Linda Vernon-Wood (34593171)

“But thankfully her GP used his intuition and did a tremendous job of ringing around, for that reason I think Amanda has been very lucky in terms of the care she has received.

“Ocular and general health issues can be spotted during a patient’s normal eye exam, so once our practices have reopened for routine appointments we’d recommend an eye test with us at least every two years to help maintain your eye health, even if you do not appear to be having any visual problems.”

Optometrist Linda Vernon-Wood said: “As Amanda was not even a patient at our practice, it shows that we’re here for everyone at this time, even if it’s the first time seeing you.

“The video consultation service is very user-friendly and allows us to have a greater insight into whatever issue you’re having, rather than just discussing symptoms over the phone.

“If you’re experiencing an eye problem, give us a call as we’re here to ease the pressure on the NHS as well as giving people peace of mind in their eye health.”

Wigram and Ware has also been helping out key workers with their repair service, including a paramedic who urgently require help after they had broken their glasses. Rebecca Wait from the practice was able to repair them as the paramedic waited and they were able to get back on the road immediately.

Linda added: “As a health care provider we have a responsibility to be available, in case our patients’ glasses break, they run out of contact lens solution or they have an emergency eye problem that needs urgent attention.

“We just want what is best for our patients, whether that be in their eye health or just seeing a friendly face and someone they know.

“Even during these challenging times it’s important that we keep our health at the top of the agenda and our eyes make up a significant part of our overall wellbeing.”

Along with repairs, the practice’s website has also been enhanced to allow patients to order specs from them online, which can then be delivered to your door.

To contact Wigram and Ware Opticians, you can call the team on 01553 772878 or 01485 544850, or visit their website at www.wigware.co.uk

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