Swollen optic nerve spotted led to diagnosis of intercranial hypertension

An optometrist in Derby is being praised by a customer after spotting the signs of her painful sight-threatening condition.

Optometrist Satbir Jhangra conducted the eye test which Anna Misalska described as both thorough and professional. He swiftly recognised that there was a significant swelling around Anna’s optic nerve.

Satbir says: ‘I knew that this was something that needed urgent treatment, and referred Anna to hospital. I personally made the appointment, and she was seen later that day. Swelling on the optic nerve can indicate a serious condition, so I knew I had to act fast.’

On arriving at the Royal Derby Hospital, Anna was initially seen by an ophthalmologist, who referred her to the neurological department for a CT scan. The results revealed intercranial hypertension – an elevation of pressure caused by excessive fluid that surrounds the brain.

She was kept in hospital for several days, during which time she received a lumbar puncture to relieve the pressure. The procedure involves inserting a needle into the lower part of the spine to measure pressure and draw off cerebrospinal fluid from inside the spine to lower the pressure around the brain.

Anna says: ‘Without the procedure, the pressure would have continued to cause me pain and distress, and could possibly have left me with permanent damage. I’m so thankful to the team at Derby Specsavers for spotting the problem and acting quickly.

‘Thankfully, all our optometrists are highly trained professionals and are adept at spotting conditions like this that might not be evident with a quick eye examination,’ Satbir continues. ‘During every test we look at the area surrounding the eye to identify the source of a problem, and thanks to this approach, we were able to identify the swelling around the optic nerve and refer our customer for the correct specialist medical treatment.’

Store director, Uan Gohil, explains: ‘We are telling Anna’s story to show the importance of regular eye tests. At Derby Specsavers, we use Optical Coherence Tomography – the most advanced piece of technology we have – which takes a highly detailed 3D picture, allowing our optometrists to see every facet of the eye in great detail. In this instance, the customer was suffering from double vision, but often we see patients who are symptom free and through regular eye tests, we can pick up and identify problems that would otherwise pass unnoticed until it was too late.’

Satbir says: ‘While this customer clearly came to us with existing symptoms, if picked up earlier, Anna’s problem may have been able to have been treated before it caused pain or distress, and that’s why we always recommend regular tests.’

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