A Stafford mum can thank her lucky stars that she went to see her optician.
Ms Hartford, 33, went to get her eye checked after she woke up with problems in her left eye. She said: "The pupil in my left eye was constricted and my eyelid was drooping considerably when I woke up. I also had a headache so I decided to visit my optician to see if they could fit me in and luckily they did pretty much straight away.
“Even though I knew there was something wrong with my eye I wasn't overly concerned. I just thought I'd slept awkwardly during the night. There weren't any alarm bells ringing.”“The optometrist was really calm but she told me I needed to go to see a neurologist at the hospital straight away as I had symptoms of Horner's Syndrome, which could have been a sign of something really serious.”
Horner’s Syndrome is caused by an interruption of nerves that run from the brain to the patient’s face and eyes.
Horner’s can be caused by a tumor in the brains or lungs or possibly by a stroke.
There is currently not treatment for this but a proper diagnosis is important so that the underlying cause can be treated.
Harford, who was pregnant at the time, was given an MRI at the Royal Stoke University and her doctors found that her carotid artery, found in the neck, had torn and she had developed a blood clot.
Harford stayed in hospital for a week and was given daily blood thinners for a year. The clot broke down and the artery healed itself, sparing her an operation.
Her case underscores how important it is to see an optician regularly. If she hadn’t gone when she did, she could easily have died.