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Mum has her life saved by a simple eye test.

By ANUJI VARMA Health Correspondent A MUM has revealed how a simple eye check saved her life - after it was discovered she was suffering from a rare condition which could have led to her death.

Tina Harford, 33, was three months pregnant when she woke up with a headache, a droopy eyelid and constricted pupil in her left eye.

She decided to get it checked out and the optometrist at her local Vision Express, in Stafford, told her to see a neurologist straight away.

They found symptoms of the dangerous Horner's Syndrome. Hours later, an MRI scan found that the carotid artery in her neck and the main artery into the brain had torn and a blood clot had developed.

A tear in the carotid artery can result in a massive haemorrhage and can lead to death within a matter of minutes in a third of cases. Those who survive are frequently left with life-changing injuries.

"The pupil in my left eye was constricted and my eyelid was drooping considerably when I woke up," says Tina. "I also had a headache so I decided to visit my optician. Luckily, they did pretty much straight away. The optometrist told me I needed to see a neurologist at the hospital straight away."

Tina added: "I stayed in hospital for about a week while they carried out tests and started treatment. It is really rare for this artery to tear - only one in 100,000 cases - and it would have gone unnoticed if it wasn't for Vision Express.

"I had to undergo a year's worth of treatment with daily injections to thin my blood. If doctors had operated on the artery straight away, it could have caused a catastrophic stroke.

"Luckily, the injections worked, breaking down the clot and repairing the artery so I didn't need an operation. Although the artery remains partially collapsed, the other part has rerouted itself into the brain again."

Tina continued: "Obviously it was a real worry for me because they told me I was going to have to deliver my baby early because of the treatment I needed. If I'd have had a normal labour, there was a serious risk of brain injury.

"My little girl, who's now two-anda-half years old, had to be delivered at 38 weeks but she is perfectly healthy."

Vision Express Stafford store director Nicola Ratchford said: "Tina's story shows how important it is to see an optician regularly. Her condition is extremely rare, but the outcome is positive thanks to Tina doing the right things by coming in to get an eye test as soon as the worrying symptoms occurred."

? Vision Express is offering a free eye test to everyone in the UK throughout September. The free eye test is available via an online voucher that can be downloaded at


Chloe Harford, aged 2, tries on some glasses. Left: Paula Ratchford-Barber, Optometrist, Tina Harford, whose life was saved by a simple eye test, and Nicola Ratchford, Vision Express Stafford store director

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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Sep 17, 2016
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