Our quick-thinking optical colleague Kamran Hussain has been hailed as a "superstar" for saving the sight of an 11-year-old girl by spotting a rare abnormality during a routine eye test.
Kamran, resident ophthalmologist at our Sheffield Drakehouse store, was concerned when he found a swollen optic nerve during the check on Samantha Hinchcliffe's eyes. He called Sheffield Children's Hospital straight away and Samantha was given an immediate appointment.
After a scan they found she had intercranial hypertension and needed an emergency procedure.
Samantha's grandmother Karen, who accompanied Samantha on her eye test, said: "We are so massively grateful to Kamran – without him she could have lost her sight. He really is a superstar."
Kamran, who's worked at the store for eight years, said: "It was right at the end of the day and Karen and Samantha came in about 10 to 15 minutes late. Usually if patients are late we rebook them for another day, but there was something in me that said I had to see this child. So I said 'let's make an exception' and do the eye test.
"They came in laughing and enjoying themselves and Samantha said there were no real problems, just a headache here and there. Then I did the eye test and the vision was fine, no problems. We then proceeded with an ocular test and it was here that I saw that the optic nerve in the left eye was swollen. I knew that this was not normal – it's rarely seen in children.
"It was something I didn't want to leave and I needed her to be seen by someone at the hospital right away.
"If it hadn't been spotted and treated then she would have ended up with extreme headaches and loss of vision – irreversible loss of vision. I was elated that she was seen quickly and she got it sorted."
The incident happened four weeks ago, and Samantha's making a great recovery – she was well enough to join Karen on a visit to the store to see Kamran.
Karen says she always goes to the eye tests with her grand-daughter and they usually see Kamran on their visits.
She said: "We were late having the tests because we usually go early on in year, but due to Covid we'd just not done it. But I said to Samantha that I'd book us both one as I thought I needed new glasses.
"Kamran did a vision test which was fine and then he saw something at the back of her eye that he wasn't' happy with. He showed us what he was seeing on his iPad, then asked her if she was getting headaches and things. She had been getting more, but we put it down to her being on her iPad and her phone especially during lockdown.
"He showed us what a good eye should look like and then what Samantha's looked like. We were really shocked, as we didn't really know what we were dealing with.
"He cancelled my appointment and phoned the hospital up and said it was important that we be seen straight away. We went and got my daughter, Kelly, and headed straight there."
Medics carried out a lumbar puncture and they found that the pressure in Samantha's spinal fluid was raised so they had to drain the fluid off.
Karen said: "Kamran was absolutely fantastic – he's a top man. He showed a lot of concern afterwards too. He phoned us on the Saturday afternoon as he said he just couldn't settle as he needed to know how she was. He also checked later in the week to see how she was.
"Going to have your eyes tested is so important and you should never put it off. You just don't know what is going on in the background as you can't see."
Store manager Darren Underhill says everyone at the store is proud of Kamran's actions.
He said: "Through Kamran's diligence and conscientious he's managed to get action to be taken before anything happened. The family were extremely grateful.
"Kamran's been a locum at the store for many years, but he's only been recently joined us permanently. He's a very good bloke and very approachable and he's such a valued member of the team."