Derby woman’s eye test picked up potentially fatal brain aneurysm

‘I do believe she saved my life’

A woman has thanked her Derby optometrist for saving her life after an irregularity on an eye test turned out to be a brain aneurysm.

Julie Green, 77, said quick-thinking Asda optometrist Avnee Chouren spotted the concerning irregularity and six days later Julie was undergoing an emergency brain operation.

Julie said she went to Asda in Spondon to get herself checked out after having double vision following a fall.

Avnee was concerned about what she saw so contacted the eye clinic at Royal Derby Hospital – then Julie was sent to Queen’s Medical Centre Nottingham for the operation.

Julie, who has now fully recovered, said: “I do believe Avnee saved my life and I can’t thank her enough. If I hadn’t gone in I wouldn’t have known I had that aneurysm and that could have been it.

“I’d never in my life had an eye test, but I’d fallen over and got a bit of double vision. So I thought the best thing to do was to go and have a test. I’d read in the paper that if you go to the opticians they can see other things rather than just your eyesight so I went to Asda Derby where we do our shopping.

“I saw Avnee and she was lovely. She said my eyesight was perfect, but I wasn’t co-ordinating properly and something just wasn’t right. She gave up her dinner hour too and spent ages checking.”

Pictured left to right is Kay Bagshaw, Asda Optical Manager, Customer Julie Green, Asda optometrist Avnee Chouren
Pictured left to right is Kay Bagshaw, Asda Optical Manager, Customer Julie Green, Asda optometrist Avnee Chouren (Image: Asda)

Avnee rang the hospital to get Julie an appointment “as soon as possible”, which came as a shock to Julie, who did not know the scale of the problem.

Julie added: “I didn’t expect anything like that. I just thought I’d got a bit of double vision and old age.

“I went to see Avnee on the Thursday and it was the following Wednesday when I had the operation so it was done pretty quickly. The treatment either works or it doesn’t, but luckily it did.”

Avnee, who’s worked at Asda Derby for ten years, said: “Julie came in and was not overly worried. She’d had a fall about six weeks prior and had banged her head. She’d gone to A & E and they stitched it up but she started getting a bit of double vision intermittently – a little bit blurred on or off. To her, it wasn’t a major problem.

“We did a routine eye test and I checked her eye movements to see if there was any delay with the muscles working together as that can sometimes induce a bit of double vision. She did have a very slight abnormality when she was looking downwards and I just felt that something was not quite right.

“I was worried about these muscle movements, so I got in touch with the eye clinic at the Royal Derby Hospital and then she was contacted to attend the following day and she was seen and was then sent for an MRA scan. The same evening they called her to say they’d found an aneurysm on her brain, which could have led to a brain haemorrhage.

“It did feel rewarding that I’d made a difference and I’m just glad she was seen so quickly and that she is now OK.

“It does show that people come to the opticians when they have a problem, where actually they should be coming routinely so if there is something there it can be picked up before it becomes a problem. I can’t stress enough the importance of regular eye tests.”

Asda Derby store manager Adele Bayfield-Knight said everyone at the store is proud of Avnee for her quick-thinking.

She said: “Avnee is always very humble when things like this happen. We see it as being amazing, but Avnee sees it as just being her job.

“What she has done is above and beyond, in fact, I would go as far as to say it is life-changing.”



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