Mansfield mum’s eye-test detected life-changing condition

Mansfield mum Sarah Fox with her optometrist, Pat Heggarty, of Specsavers.
Mansfield mum Sarah Fox with her optometrist, Pat Heggarty, of Specsavers.

A mum from Mansfield is urging everyone to get their eyes tested after a routine appointment at her optician’s detected a life-changing condition.

Sarah Fox was enjoying a night out with friends and family when she fell into a wall after misjudging a roadside kerb.

Convinced it was because of her failing sight, she booked an appointment at Specsavers on Westgate in Mansfield and, after a series of tests, optometrist Pat Heggarty discovered an anomaly behind one of her eyes.

She was sent to hospital for an urgent MRI scan, which revealed that she had multiple sclerosis (MS), causing problems with her eyes.

“It was a huge shock,” said Sarah, 45. “I wore glasses anyway, but never had any noticeable symptoms. I just thought my sight was worsening. I had no idea something more serious was wrong.”

MS is a condition where the body’s auto-immune system starts attacking the nerve fibres in the brain and spinal cord, triggering difficulties with many different parts of the body. For Sarah, it affected her vision and led to optical neuritis and fibromyalgia.

Pat said: “I was very concerned by the end of the test that Sarah’s worsening sight was being caused by a serious problem, An inflamed optic nerve is a big red flag for us.”

Since being diagnosed, Sarah has been taking controlled medication to manage her condition. She also makes sure she has eye tests twice a year to monitor her vision.

“I’m really grateful to Pat and the team at Specsavers for picking up the condition, ensuring that I now have the treatment I need,” added Sarah.

“Being diagnosed with MS is something that I have learned to accept, and I have a huge amount of support from friends and family, and also staff at Sheffield Hospital.”

Imogen Hoyle, who is director of the Mansfield branch of Specsavers, said: “Sarah’s case highlights the importance of regular eye-tests. They are not simply a prescription check, they are also a vital health-assessment.

“We are able to monitor the condition of the eyes on an ongoing basis, which builds up a picture of how the eyes and connecting organs are changing over time. This means we can pick up on anomalies quickly and easily, so that they can be treated as soon as possible.”