John was right to go to Specsavers

AN Oulton Broad man has highlighted the importance of going to the opticians after he was sent to hospital when an eye test showed he may be about to have a stroke.

John Hutchin, 75, had gone to the Specsavers in Lowestoft town centre after he started losing his sight while he was having breakfast with his wife.

After an eye test showed problems with his peripheral vision Mr Hutchin was told to go straight to the James Paget University Hospital(JPH) in Gorleston as there were fears he may have a stroke.

Once at the hospital Mr Hutchin, from Conrad Road, was diagnosed as having had a minor stroke which resulted in him losing his peripheral vision.

The former Bank of England worker spent a week at the hospital and has been prescribed medication to help cope with the after affects of his 'mini-stroke', as he has called it.

This week Mr Hutchin visited Specsavers, known for its catchprase 'You should have gone to Specsavers', to thank optometrist Martin Jones, who tested him on March 31 and then told him to immediately go to the JPH, where he spent a week recovering.

Mr Hutchin is convinced that because of his insistence of going to Specsavers to be tested and Mr Jones's quick wits in sending him to the JPH, he may have been spared from suffering a worse stroke.

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Meeting Mr Jones nearly four months after his ordeal a grateful Mr Hutchin said: 'How can I thank Martin enough? It is impossible to say it in words.

'I am sure things would have been worse if I had not gone to Specsavers and been seen by Mr Jones.'

Describing the events of March 31 the father of two told The Journal: 'I was having breakfast with my wife, Jeanette, when I started seeing what I call jazzy lines at the side of my vision.

'Then all of I sudden could not even see my wife from across the table. I thought it was serious, I was worried I was going blind and I would be able to see again.

'I rang up Spacesavers and told them what had happened and they said come down.

'Martin did the full range of tests. He then said something was wrong and that I should go to the hospital straight away.

'He gave me a letter to take and looked very stern.

'I knew that going to Specsavers was the right thing as they know what they are looking for.

'Martin and the staff at the JPH were excellent. Who knows what would have happened if I did not go and see him?'

Mr Hutchin has been going to the Lowestoft Specsavers for four years as he is long sighted.

His wife Jeanette was pleased he had gone to the opticians at the early signs of trouble.

She said: 'We were both worried about it. But thankfully John was seen early and looked after very well.'

Mr Jones, who is South African and has been an optometrist for 34 years, told The Journal it was 'not very often' that he would tell patients to go to hospital after an eye test.

He said: 'When I examined John I could see something was not quite right and told him to get straight to the hospital.

'I am pleased I could help John. If you have a problem with your eyes your optician should always be the first option.'

Optometrists can spot several medical conditions and problems such as glaucoma and cancer for eye tests.

David Holcombe, retail manager of Lowestoft's Specsavers which has 60,000 customers on its database, said the eye tests were essential as optometrists could spot any potential problems.

He added: 'We are obviously very pleased to be able to help Mr Hutchin.'