A QUICK-THINKING optician has played a major role in saving the sight of a well-known Auchinleck man.

Geronimo ‘Gerry’ Fernandez Donis, whose family owned Auchinleck’s greyhound stadium, first felt unwell in 2016 when he was driving home from Ayr and his vision became disrupted by black stars flashing on and off.

Concerned about the incident, he got a same-day appointment with his GP who advised him to visit an optician right away.

That night, Annette Halnan, owner of Firstsight Eyecare in Cumnock and Auchinleck, examined Gerry in her Auchinleck practice.

She was so disturbed by what she found that she arranged for Gerry to be seen immediately by specialists at Ayr Hospital.

It turned out the 80-year-old had a nine per cent chance of suffering a stroke and a much higher chance of losing his sight.

That means the five pills he was given to take daily to keep the condition at bay may have also helped to save his life.

Annette said: “When I first examined Gerry I noticed large patches of paleness, known as Retinal Pallor, at the back of his right eye.

“This is caused when the blood supply to the eye is partially blocked and requires immediate attention.

“The pills he was prescribed would have lessened the impact of the bleed on the brain.”

Earlier this year, while celebrating five years of good health, Gerry suddenly suffered a severe headache. As a qualified First Aider, he recognised the possibility that he was seriously ill.

His son rushed him to Ayr Hospital and a scan found he was having a bleed on the brain.

He was taken by ambulance to the Western General in Edinburgh where he underwent surgery to repair the damage.

Gerry said: “The staff at Western General told me the medication I was taking for my original complaint helped to save my life.

“The pills thinned my blood and controlled my blood pressure.”

Gerry is now doing well but is encouraging those suffering similar symptoms to get themselves checked out by a medical professional.

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