Optician tells teen to go to hospital immediately after eye exam
A nursing student said she was told she could have “died at any time” after an eye test revealed an undiagnosed condition.
Megan Rabbitts suffers from headaches and blurred vision, but her GP told her it was because she was “sleeping awfully.”
However, when her symptoms worsened, the 19-year-old was advised to make an appointment with her optician at Specsavers.
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After being seen by an optician, it was revealed that Megan was suffering from a life-threatening brain disorder that surprised doctors that she was not already “dead”.
Megan, from Bodmin, Cornwall, said: “Before the diagnosis it was like I was living in a haze, I was existing more than I was living.
“I felt overwhelming pressure everywhere, it was like someone was crushing my head.
“I would wake up with double vision and hit things on the floor until I took ibuprofen, which helps reduce swelling.
“My neck was also sore. It was really stiff and I couldn’t move it on my own, I had to move my shoulders with it.”
Megan called her GP who set up a phone consultation in July and was told her symptoms resembled a strain on her neck, possibly caused by awkwardly sleeping on it.
However, Megan was worried that it was something more serious, she added, “I was not too convinced as I had other symptoms as well, including headache, dizziness, illness and visual issues that just weren’t correct.
“I found it difficult to operate but thought I was going to give a few days and see what happened.”
After not being satisfied with the initial prognosis, Megan ordered further tests and made an appointment with an optician.
CT and MRI scans revealed the diagnosis of idiopathic intracranial hypertension shock in August – a “fake” brain tumor caused by a build-up of pressure around the brain that mimics tumor-like symptoms.
Stunned doctors recorded the pressure in Megan’s brain as four times what it should be and noted that hers had skyrocketed to 53, while a normal reading is between 12 and 18.
A specialist told Megan he was “amazed” that she was able to function and that she “could have collapsed dead on the floor” at any time.
Now the sophomore is sharing her story urging people to have routine eye tests – as she credits hers for saving her life.
After having a lumbar puncture, the pressure in Megan’s brain was significantly reduced and she is now taking medication to help manage her condition.
Megan said: “The doctor said I could have collapsed on the floor anytime he said he was quite amazed that I continued as well as I did.
“I am on medication now and will be seen every two months or so.
“I just have to make sure I keep a healthy lifestyle and don’t gain weight because that can make it worse.
“The optician at Specsavers was really good. I’m so grateful he made me go to the hospital immediately.
“People might think it’s a little scary if they were in my shoes, but as a nursing student I love to learn more.
“Having been a patient, I can relate to them more now.”
Carl Grobler, Ophthalmic Partner at Specsavers Bodmin, said: “Positive results like Megan’s are the highlight of what we do here. It’s wonderful to know the impact of our diagnosis on her life.
“It also illustrates how eye tests using the latest technology can detect the first signs of many conditions, and people can be referred for treatment at an early stage, which can be crucial.
“I hope stories like Megan’s can encourage others to go through their regular eye health checks, as not everyone realizes that the eye test isn’t all about whether you need it. glasses or not. ”