Lucky sight es­cape

Central Leader - - NEWS -

The fos­ter fam­ily of a very lucky school girl is cred­it­ing her lo­cal op­tometrist for sav­ing her sight.

When 10 year old Nick­lah-Rae Ru Grace woke up one morn­ing with big black blobs at the front of her eyes, her fos­ter par­ents were un­der­stand­ably alarmed and im­me­di­ately took her to their lo­cal op­tometrist at Spec­savers Manukau.

What they didn’t re­alise was that the sud­den eye­sight de­te­ri­o­ra­tion was linked to Cat Scratch Disease, a con­di­tion which Nick­lah-Rae had devel­oped in the pre­vi­ous few months af­ter be­ing scratched by a wild cat.

Spec­savers Manukau op­tometrist and co-owner, Chee Loh, ex­am­ined Nick­lah-Rae’s eyes and im­me­di­ately di­ag­nosed a rare con­di­tion called op­tic neu­ri­tis, an in­flam­ma­tion of the op­tic nerve con­nect­ing the eye to the brain.

‘‘Nick­lah-Rae was very for­tu­nate that her care­giver, Star­sim Simeki, took im­me­di­ate ac­tion to get her eyes looked at by a pro­fes­sional,’’ he says.

‘‘Had there been a de­lay in seek­ing help, she may have lost her sight which would have been an ab­so­lute tragedy for such a young girl. I have al­most 10 years ex­pe­ri­ence as an op­tometrist and I have never seen this con­di­tion in a child be­fore.’’

Mr Loh used dig­i­tal reti­nal pho­tog­ra­phy as part of his ini­tial di­ag­no­sis. It pro­vides a de­tailed colour im­age of the back of Nick­lah-Rae’s eye and will help Mr Loh to con­tin­u­ally mon­i­tor her con­di­tion.

‘‘Our eyes really do re­flect our gen­eral health and in this case Nick­lahRae was very lucky that her eyes alerted us and then other med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als to the se­ri­ous­ness of her con­di­tion.

‘‘Many dis­eases don’t ex­hibit early warn­ing sig­nals be­fore they be­gin to dam­age your vi­sion so by the time you no­tice you have a prob­lem, your eyes could al­ready be ir­repara­bly dam­aged. This is why reg­u­lar eye tests are so im­por­tant even if you don’t think your pre­scrip­tion needs up­dat­ing.’’

Mr Simeki says he and Nick­lah-Rae are hugely re­lieved that the con­di­tion was caught early as it could have po­ten­tially led to blind­ness if not treated.

Mr Loh is en­cour­ag­ing other New Zealan­ders who are over­due for an eye test, or even con­cerned about the health of their eyes to drop in and see them and take ad­van­tage of the free dig­i­tal reti­nal pho­tog­ra­phy ser­vice that is part of ev­ery eye ex­am­i­na­tion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.