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​Sight-saving diagnosis for retired Tuffley nurse

Press Release   •   Sep 21, 2017 13:11 BST

Alex Paulus testing Cynthia Faulkner’s eyes.

A retired nurse from Tuffley, near Gloucester, whose sight was saved after a detached retina was spotted during an eye test at Vision Express, is urging others to have regular eye tests, this National Eye Health Week (18 – 24 September 2017).

Cynthia Faulkner, 67 had been experiencing flashing lights in her left eye for a couple of weeks but thought it was a symptom of her usual migraines. On holiday with her family in Cyprus the following week, she experienced a constant cloudiness in the same eye but simply put it down to the bright sunlight of the Mediterranean.

When the cloudiness remained on her return to the UK, Cynthia put a call in to her local Vision Express store in Gloucester. "They had me in the store the very same day," she explains. "I was seen by Alex the optometrist, who told me he suspected a detached retina and referred me immediately to the Cheltenham General Ophthalmology Clinic." Cynthia went straight to the clinic where the diagnosis was confirmed and she was admitted for surgery the following day.

Retinal detachment occurs when the thin lining at the back of the eye begins to pull away from the blood vessels that supply it with oxygen and nutrients. Without prompt treatment, it can lead to blindness in the affected eye. Thanks to the early diagnosis and following surgery to re-attach the retina, Cynthia's symptoms have now completely disappeared.

"I really should have gone to Vision Express sooner," she says. "I just never suspected anything so serious and I'm so grateful to Alex and the team for the rapid diagnosis and referral. I really believe I could have lost my sight if they had not acted so quickly.”

Cynthia, who enjoys gardening and jigsaws, cares daily for her elderly mum, so understands only too well the importance of good eye health. "I have since been back to the store for my routine tests and there is always a friendly welcome and a really comfortable and calming atmosphere when I visit. My mum comes along too and she loves it. She says she feels safe there and would never go anywhere else, which is a true testament to the team's care and dedication."

Vision Express optometrist, Alex Paulus, says: "The success rate for surgery to re-connect a detached retina is high. However, it's important to act quickly as, the longer the wait, the lower the chances good vision will be restored. Stories like Cynthia's really do prove just how important it is to have regular vision checks.

"Most people think an eye test is only necessary for determining whether they need glasses or lenses. Actually, it can detect many other health conditions, including diabetes and stroke, as well as cataracts and glaucoma.”

This National Eye Health Week, Vision Express is, once again, urging the public to take sight seriously and is offering free eye tests with an online voucher available for download until 30 September at: It allows for a free eye test to be redeemed until 31 October at any of approximately 400 Vision Express stores across the UK and Ireland.

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To find your nearest Vision Express store and make an eye test appointment visit:

About Vision Express

Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.

With almost 400 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.

With around 4,500 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:

  • Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
  • International Glaucoma Association
  • Macular Society
  • Stroke Association
  • Temple Street University Hospital
  • Brake

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