Dr Penny Goldsborough, a psychologist and novelist from Combs, was planting lavender in her garden in August when she felt something in her eye.
The 61-year-old said: “It didn’t hurt I thought I just had a cobweb in my eye but it wouldn’t go and its only now looking back I realise just how close I was to going blind.” Penny who has been wearing glasses since she was 18 rang her optician and made an appointment.
She was seen by optometrist Steven Pickering from Vision Express in Buxton who later said it was the largest haemorrhage he had ever seen and made an emergency appointment for her at Stepping Hill Hospital for later the same day.
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Penny, who is a mum-of-two, said: “I wasn’t scared at that point it was only when I got to hospital and theatre had stopped but someone took my handbag and told me I was going into to surgery immediately did I realise just how serious it was.
“I was told there wasn’t the time to wait until tomorrow as I could go blind.”
Penny’s haemorrhage was treated with laser surgery which she was still awake for but under local anaesthetic.
Since her operation she could not see properly out of her eye and she stopped driving for a while but still does not like driving at night because of the glare from the headlights.
She said: “The floater as the optician called it, was not caused through bad diet or poor lifestyle choices it just happened and it could happen to anyone.
“People take their sight for granted but I came so close to losing my vision and it’s quite scary to think about what I wouldn’t have been able to do.
“I am author so I wouldn’t be able to write anymore or drive but I do realise how lucky I am.
“My outlook on life has changed now I know how close I came to my life changing forever and it’s a very sobering thought now I just want to raise awareness and encourage more people to go for regular eye tests so problems like this can be spotted.”
Explaining the importance of regular eye tests Penny said: “More people go to the dentist every year than go to the opticians which is just ridiculous.
“As horrible and sometimes painful as the dentist can be we all go and we all pay because it’s better than the alternative of toothache butwe don’t think about going blind. I want more people to book an appointment to the opticians, it’s painless and only takes ten minutes.”
Penny is now backing the Road Safety Week 2017 campaign by Vision Express, which is offering a free eye test for all, in a bid to reduce road incidents attributed to poor sight.
Around 2,900 road casualties per year are thought to be down to people getting behind the wheel with below-par vision.
Steven Pickering added: “Penny’s story really brings home the importance of eye tests in preventing sight loss. If she had delayed voicing her concerns, she may not have had such a positive outcome.”