Short-sighted woman thought headache meant she needed new glasses, gets life-changing diagnosis

A short-sighted woman who had assumed her frequent and debilitating headaches needed stronger lenses was shocked when she learned she had multiple sclerosis. When she first experienced a headache, 29-year-old Lauren Percival, at age 15, had found any recurrences that meant she needed a new pair.

But when her optician found no change in her vision and performed an optical coherence tomography (OCT) test, which examines the retina, they detected quadrantanopia, or loss of vision in one quarter of the visual field, which is multiple May indicate sclerosis. (M / s).

Shortly after Lauren, of Torbay, Devon, was sent to nearby Torbe Hospital, she confirmed she had MS – a lifelong condition affecting the brain and spinal cord – saying: “It felt like a complete shock. I never expected to be diagnosed with something like MS.

“My headaches started when I was 15 and became a sign that I needed glasses. Since then, I have always assumed that any recurrent headaches were linked to needing a new prescription for my lenses. Over time, however, my headaches have gotten progressively worse, to the point where I cannot function at the moment, because the pain is too severe.”

Lauren, who lives with her boyfriend, says everything reached a fever pitch after she fainted in November 2021.

She said: “I felt really bad one evening, I actually fainted and got very hot. I vomited and fainted. I went to bed and the next day my headache got worse.

“After that day, I woke up with blurry and double vision. The light was hurting my eyes and I was also having balance problems and memory loss.”

Believing she needs a new prescription, Lauren’s boyfriend helps her walk to her local Specsaver in Torbay.

She said: “They didn’t have an appointment available, but they booked me an emergency appointment for the next day, which was Monday. When they got nothing to indicate that I needed new glasses, but Knowing how bad my headaches were, he did further testing on my retina.

“It showed that I have quadrantanopia, which refers to a loss of vision in one quarter of the visual field. It could be a possible sign of a stroke or, more likely at my age, one with MS,” he said. Possible first attack.

The next day at Torbay Hospital, she had everything from eye and blood tests to balance and coordination tests and a lumbar puncture, to collect spinal fluid for testing.

Lauren is due to start treatment in the next few months
(Image: PA Real Life)

She said: “They couldn’t tell what was wrong with me. They wanted to keep me overnight, but agreed to let me go home when I promised to return the next morning for an MRI scan.

Lauren’s brain scans quickly identified an abnormality.

She said: “When I looked at the results I noticed I had some sort of numbness on my brain and I was put on a five day course of high-dose steroids, which was easing my symptoms.”

Still without a solid diagnosis, Lauren went home, only to relapse in January of this year.

She said: “I was sent for more MRI scans in May – one on my brain and one on my spinal cord. There were two lesions, which is not what anyone wants to hear, but it was at the time they diagnosed did. “

Lauren was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, which, according to the NHS, can sometimes cause severe disability, although it can sometimes be mild.

She said: “I’m about to start a disease modifying therapy, or DMT, in the next few months, which will consist of self-administered injections at home. Doctors are monitoring my health before I start, which is routine, Because the treatment can make me more vulnerable to chest infections, colds, and flu-like symptoms.

“Everyone with MS is affected differently by the condition, although there are some similarities. For me, it really affects my vision. I have good days and bad days but I do a certain amount every day I am in pain

“I mostly struggle with my peripheral vision, which affects my mobility, because I can very easily walk into something or someone not knowing they’re there. I also struggle with double vision I don’t drive, but I wouldn’t be allowed if I wanted to now.”

Still, Lauren says it’s a relief to be diagnosed.

She said: “Doctors think I went without a diagnosis for three years. Had my MS not been diagnosed for a longer period of time, I could have ended up with more lesions on my brain that further impair my vision. could affect.”

Lauren Assumed The Headache Was A Sign She Needed New Glasses
Lauren assumed the headache was a sign she needed new glasses
(Image: PA Real Life)

Lauren will always be grateful to her optician that she found something was wrong and now wants to encourage more people to get their eyes checked.

She said: “It’s easy to forget how important eye exams are. Opticians don’t just check your vision and, as in my case, they can flag serious health problems.

“I’ve heard before that vision that people will want to keep it if they lose all others. It’s extremely important.

“I’m grateful I was diagnosed when I was, because my MS could have progressed without me knowing. If you notice anything unusual about your vision, I really urge you to get your eyes checked. I do.”

Simon Simmonds, eye director of the Torbe branch of Specsavers, affirms the importance of regular eye exams.

He added: “Lauren’s story illustrates the importance of eye testing, as optometrists are able to take early signs of a person’s condition and refer them for treatment if necessary. It is imperative that people take their own Keep getting regular eye health checkups, as not everyone knows that vision tests do more than show someone whether they need a new prescription for their glasses.

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