A man was diagnosed with with an extremely rare and life-threatening condition after he suffered a bloodshot eye and double vision.
Colin Bowers, 76, was diagnosed with an eye infection at an initial medical appointment, but sought a second opinion when he suffered double vision.
He went to Specsavers in his home town of Runcorn, Cheshire, where an optometrist suspected there was a deeper issue and referred him to the local hospital.
He underwent scans and doctors told him that he had a rare condition that threatened to make him go blind or even kill him if it went untreated, CheshireLive reported.
The condition, called carotid-cavernous sinus fistula, causes the artery that takes blood to the eye and the vein that takes blood away from the eye to become attached.
The condition is extremely difficult to diagnose and can lead to strokes and blood clots.
Mr Bowers was transferred by ambulance to a specialist neurology team at a different hospital to undergo an angiogram, an x-ray which detects blockages in the arterial system.
Surgeons then performed a complicated nine-hour surgery which involved going directly through the eye socket to operate.
The operation was successful, and Mr Bowers returned home soon after.
A year on from his ordeal, he still experiences double vision on occasion, which specialists believe is due to scar tissue.
Mr Bowers, who has been wearing glasses for 30 years, said: “Without Specsavers I honestly don’t think I’d be alive.
“I really wasn’t convinced by the diagnosis I received initially, so I trusted my instincts and got that second opinion from Specsavers.
“I’d recommend anyone else to do the same, it’s not worth taking risks with your health.”
Stuart Jones, the optometrist director who examined Mr Bowers’ eyes, said: “Colin came into the store with recent onset vertical double vision and complained of having to shut one eye to be able to read.
“Double vision in itself is not unusual and can be treated with glasses, but I was concerned at the time because it was a sudden onset.
“After my examination, I knew the right action was to refer Colin to the hospital to receive further tests.
“We are all so grateful at the store that his CCF was found and controlled when it was.
“It’s a sombre reminder that we all need to look after ourselves if we know there is something wrong.”