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Eye test showed blood clot that could have led to man's death

By Donna Deeney

Published 25/09/2015

Jason Scoltock with his optician Paul Curtis
Jason Scoltock with his optician Paul Curtis

A Londonderry man has paid tribute to the optician who saved his life after he complained about a headache.

An unscheduled eye test turned out to be a real life-saving experience for Jason Scoltock after the optician noticed a potentially fatal blood clot.

Mr Scoltock (46) had been suffering with a headache for a few days prior to taking his daughter Daisy for her routine eye examination.

While he was waiting on optician Paul Curtis to complete Daisy's tests, Mr Scoltock mentioned the persistent headaches he had been experiencing.

Unbeknown to him, this rang alarm bells with Mr Curtis who told Mr Scoltock to come back after he left Daisy home and asked him to let his wife drive him.

Little did Mr Scoltock suspect how close he came to losing his life.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, he explained: "Paul asked me to come back after Daisy's eye test and he said that I should let my wife Patricia drive because he was going to put eye drops in which would leave my vision blurred.

"I had had a headache that just wouldn't go away and I had vomited a couple of times, but nothing prepared me for what happened. Paul told me the lens at the back of my eye was out of shape and he said he wanted me to go straight to A&E in Altnagelvin, where I got an MRI scan on my brain.

"The neurologist I saw found a blood clot which he said would have killed me if it had been left.

"I absolutely would encourage everybody to get regular eye tests because I just don't know what would have happened if it wasn't for Paul."

The dramatic discovery Mr Curtis made when he examined Mr Scoltock's eyes was by no means unique, and in fact he has similar experiences on average once a year in his busy practice.

Mr Curtis said: "What happened Jason is not something that happens every week - but it does happen more than people would imagine.

"We have a very busy practice and we see around 9,000 patients a year and on average one of them will have some sort of anomaly show up similar to Jason's.

"It's not that long ago that I was doing a test on a young child and noticed the optic nerve was showing signs of increased pressure, which turned out to be a brain tumour.

"Thankfully the child was treated and recovered and, without wanting to frighten people, it is cases like these that demonstrate the importance of regular eye tests."

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