A father is urging people not to take their eyesight for granted after he came close to losing his vision.
Jonathan Connor, from Boldon Colliery, was watching TV one night when he noticed a strange image in his left eye.
The 46-year-old, who works in sales, said: “There was this really dark image in my eye that I can only really describe as a spider with really long legs, and when I looked around it was following my vision.
“The next day it was still there and I knew I had to do something about it.”
The dad-of-three called Big Optician in Newcastle, and went that day to be seen by optometrist Keith Little.
Keith was alarmed to find that the optic nerves in both of Jonathan’s eyes were very swollen, which can be an indication of a number of serious, life-threatening conditions, and Keith urged Jonathan to make an appointment at either the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle, or Sunderland Eye Infirmary immediately.
Your eyesight is something that you do kind of take for granted but it was a shock to hear that I could lose mine and it does give you a new appreciation for things and it definitely makes you look at this differently.Jonathan Connor
After numerous tests were carried out, Jonathan was diagnosed with a condition called intercranial hypertension.
Acute intercranial hypertension can be fatal if it is not treated promptly as a medical emergency. It means there is abnormally high pressure inside the skull, which may happen suddenly or build up over time.
The condition may be suspected if patients have signs and symptoms of increased intracranial pressure, such as vision problems and headaches, but sometimes there are few symptoms.
Jonathan, who is now in good health, said: “I was really impressed that they could see me so quickly, and everyone at the Eye Infirmary and Sunderland Royal were great too.
“I was shocked at what my optician said because I had no idea that something like this could be so serious.
“It was something that if I hadn’t acted on it immediately, there could have been a real problem.
“Your eyesight is something that you do kind of take for granted but it was a shock to hear that I could lose mine and it does give you a new appreciation for things and it definitely makes you look at things differently.”
He added: “What I would say to people is that if they ever had a problem like this, go straight to the experts, don’t go on Google and try to diagnose it yourself.”
Optometrist Keith said: “Although we would always urge people to have regular eye examinations for their general eye health, it’s surprising what other aspects of general health can be revealed by a good eye test.
“Sometimes eye examinations can detect serious medical conditions before a client experiences any symptoms at all. Examples include diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hypotension (low blood pressure), pituitary problems including tumours, multiple sclerosis, and kidney disease. Jonathan has been very fortunate.”
National Eye Health Week runs from September 21 to 27.