‘Fighter’ Olivia (12) marks store refit

Olivia cutting the ribbon with store directors Nicola Palmer and Andrew Palmer.
Olivia cutting the ribbon with store directors Nicola Palmer and Andrew Palmer.

A 12-year-old Boston girl who had her eyesight saved following a routine eye test at a town opticians has officially unveiled its revamped premises.

Olivia Georgeson and mum Chantelle were the guests of honour when Vision Express, in Strait Bargate, reopened following refurbishment.

The visit marked a return for Olivia to the location of a crucial eye test last year, one that – thanks to the suspicions of the optometrist, Abdullah Bhamji – would lead to her being referred to Boston’s Pilgrim Hospital and, ultimately, diagnosed with idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH).

IIH is an extremely rare neurological condition (affecting two in 100,000 people) defined by increased pressure around the brain without the presence of tumour or disease. Symptoms include severe headaches, temporary loss of vision, tinnitus, and papilledema – a swelling of part of the optic nerve. Olivia was found to be suffering papilledema, which if left untreated can lead to blindness.

She was prescribed tablets to keep the pressure on her brain low and, after a couple of days, was sent home.

IIH, however, is a life-long condition and Olivia must contend with pulsating tinnitus, occasional blackouts, which have left her with depression, and take 42 tablets per week.

Chantelle described her as a real inspiration, dealing with her day-to-day life in a mostly positive way.

“She did become very withdrawn at first, but she really is a fighter and makes the most of the positives,” she said

Chantelle is keen to raise awareness of IIH on behalf of Olivia and other sufferers.

“It’s not even that well known amongst the medical profession because there has been little research due to funding issues,” she said. “So, we were very lucky it was spotted so early on.”

She described the team at Vision Express as ‘absolutely fantastic’, adding: “Since the initial referral, they have kept in touch regularly to see how we are doing and if there is anything they can do to help.”

“I really can’t thank them enough and we were honoured to join the team to help them celebrate the newly refurbished store,” she said.