Shock eye test result makes a difference

A visit to the optician about a suspected migraine led one Arbroath man to discover that he had in fact suffered an undiagnosed stroke.

Stuart McCormack (36) thought that all the symptoms he was suffering from - vision loss, severe headaches and pins and needles - were the result of migraines, but a routine eye test at Specsavers in Arbroath revealed he had in fact had a stroke.

With May ‘Stroke Awareness Month,’ Stuart is keen to raise awareness of his own experience. Stuart lives in Arbroath with his wife, Leeane, and son Shay (4). He said: “I am not in any risk category for a stroke – I am a healthy, young man who is active and doesn’t smoke. Everyone thought I was suffering from migraines, a stroke wasn’t even mentioned or on my radar before I visited Specsavers.”

He first felt discomfort while at a wedding.

One of the guests was a nurse and thought it might be a migraine, but told him to contact NHS24 the next day if he still felt unwell. He was seen by a GP who agreed with the migraine diagnosis, took some blood and advised him to get an eye test.

In the meantime, he was seen by optometrist Marc Funari at Specsavers.

Stuart continued: “The initial health check was fine, Marc said my eyes were healthy and then went on to check my vision. He wasn’t happy with what he saw and consulted with his colleague on my results. He then called Ninewells and it was arranged for me to go the next day for a CT scan.

“Throughout the whole process I never really thought there was anything seriously wrong and then to be told I had suffered a stroke was a shock.”

Stuart was immediately admitted to a ward for observation.

He continued: “I have been really lucky, I have lost a bit of my sight but there were other people in my ward that were in a much worse situation. The scary part was that once you have had a stroke you are most likely to have another one in the first month. Had I not gone to Specsavers when I did this could have been undetected for a couple of weeks and who knows what could have happened.

“It’s amazing how remarkable eye tests are. The service at Specsavers was really good, there was no rush and they were so thorough. Marc knew instantly something wasn’t right and he wanted to do all he could to help me.

“I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me and my family and I can’t urge people enough to ensure they are going for regular eye tests. It’s so important.”