How a routine eye check saved an Edinburgh teenager’s life

Alan Watson
Alan Watson
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A YOUNG boy’s life was saved when his routine eye exam revealed signs that the shunt in his brain that he’d had since birth had broken.

12-year-old Alan Watson from Edinburgh went with his mum for his annual check-up when Optical Express optometrist Amna Bashir noticed blurred margins on comparison of previous fundus photos. As a precaution, Amna called the hospital and arranged for him to be seen that day.

He went into theatre for brain surgery the following day, receiving an essential emergency surgery that will have saved his life.

Alan, who has just started his second year of high school was born with hydrocephalus, a condition characterised by extra fluid on the brain, which resulted in him having a shunt fitted at birth.

The family have praised the quick thinking of the optometrist for detecting the signs of abnormalities in his eye exam. If this had remained undetected, it could have been fatal. Alan’s mother, Carmen Anderson, said: “The optician has saved Alan’s life. It’s been a worrying time for our family and it’s so frightening to think what could have happened if this hadn’t been spotted earlier. If I hadn’t received the reminder that he was due his yearly check-up, who knows how long it would have been before it was detected.”