BBC presenter Lucy Owens eye test led to emergency surgery that saved her sight

“I haven’t always been to the opticians as regularly as I should,” Lucy Owen, 52, confessed.

Despite wearing contact lenses from the age of 16, Lucy would forget to book her annual appointments, which resulted in years going by without a professional check-up.

“I won’t be doing that any more,” Lucy said. “That’s because what I thought was just another check-up led to emergency surgery that saved the sight in one of my eyes.”

In June, Lucy began experiencing white flashes in her right eye, particularly when she looked to the side.

These flashes would occur up to twice a day, and while Lucy thought it was unusual, she didn’t exactly rush to an ophthalmologist.

READ MORE… BBC newsreader Lucy Owen nearly loses vision as she’s rushed to hospital

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“I googled the symptoms – it looked like something that can happen with age, or possibly a detached retina,” she told the BBC.

“With my 52nd birthday around the corner, I rolled my eyes and assumed it must be another one of the joys of getting older.”

Weeks rolled on, the flashes continued, and then Lucy misplaced her glasses and so she booked an appointment at the opticians on her local high street.

“Settling into the optometrist’s, I still had no real concerns,” Lucy recalled.

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As the optometrist kept shining a bright light into her right eye, the eye specialist warned Lucy that her retina could detach “very quickly”.

If that was to occur, he said, Lucy would lose her eyesight and nothing more could be done about it.

While Lucy was taken aback, the optometrist booked her in for an emergency appointment at the hospital for the very next day.

“My mind was racing. It was all so hard to process,” Lucy said. “If it didn’t work, how would I cope? Would I still be able to work, read the autocue?”

Lucy reflected: “Faced with the prospect of losing my sight in that eye, suddenly the vision that I’d always taken for granted seemed incredibly precious.”

The eye-saving operation was over within an hour, and Lucy could return home the same day.

Her vision, however, took up to three months to return to normal, without the flashes.

“I felt disoriented and unable to go outside for the first six weeks or so,” said Lucy.

“But as my vision improved, so did my confidence to get back on my feet and out and about.”

A detached retina

The NHS says a detached retina is when the thin layer at the back of your eye (retina) becomes loose.

Symptoms include:

  • Floaters (dots and lines) or flashes of light in your eye
  • A dark “curtain” or shadow in your vision
  • Changes to your eyesight, such as blurred vision.

Anybody experiencing flashes of light in their vision are advised to call NHS 111.

“Get medical help as soon as possible,” the health body stresses.

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