Grandmother left 'looking like an alien' after suffering allergic reaction to eye drops
Linda Hoff, 57, went to Specsavers branch in Blyth, NorthumberlandHer optician administered eye drops as part of a health checkBut hours later, her eyes began to sting, before going puffy and bright redAllergic reaction was so bad she was referred to hospitalSpecsavers says drops are 'routinely used' in eye examinations

By
Anna Hodgekiss

PUBLISHED:

11:40 GMT, 15 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 15 March 2013

Linda Hoff suffered a severe allergic reaction to eye drops administered at her local branch of Specsavers

Linda Hoff suffered a severe allergic reaction to eye drops administered at her local branch of Specsavers

A grandmother who went to a routine opticians appointment was left 'looking like an alien' after suffering an allergic reaction to eye drops.

Linda Hoff, 57, went to her local Specsavers branch in Blyth, Northumberland, to have her vision checked before ordering new lenses and frames.

Her optician administered eye drops as part of a health check, which can help to diagnose diabetes and high blood pressure.

But hours later, her eyes began to sting and feel sore. By the next morning, they were puffy and bright red, so she sought advice from the opticians.

She said: 'I look like I've walked off the set of the Thriller video. Unbelievably, I wasn't panicked. I just thought: “How am I meant to go outside looking like this”

'I looked like an alien with tiny slits where my eyes should have been.'

Staff at the store advised her to go to a chemist, but she was later given a referral letter for Newcastle's Royal Victoria Infirmary.

Ms Hoff said : 'The letter said I'd gone in for a routine eye examination and been given drops of Proxymetacaine 0.5%.

'It detailed how I'd had an allergic reaction which had got progressively worse and wasn't responding to any antihistamines.

'I've had the eye checks there in the past and never reacted like this.

'I don't even get hay fever. I want other people to see what can happen, that people can have reactions to these routine eye checks.

'I've been given tablets and eye drops in the hope that the swelling goes down but I've no idea how long it will take.

'Throughout the whole incident I've had no apology and little compassion. When I first told the staff about it, I was told to get myself to the chemist.

Specsavers in Blyth, where the drops were administered. A spokesperson for the company said they are routinely used during eye examinations

Specsavers in Blyth, where the drops were administered. A spokesperson for the company said
they are routinely used during eye examinations

'I have had to spend almost 50 on taxis taking me to and from the hospital for something which wasn't my fault.

'I couldn't go on public transport because of the state I was in, I could barely see.'

'I feel they could have been more helpful given the situation and I'm not impressed. I'm finished with Specsavers.

Ms Hoff says she previously suffered an allergic reaction many years ago to wallpaper paste remover just after a pregnancy, but has not experienced any other allergic reactions until the eye drops were administered.

A spokesman for Specsavers said: 'The eye drops used in any routine eye examination are commonly used in eye surgery and other optical procedures.

'We are aware that a customer has experienced an adverse reaction to the eye drops and have taken every measure possible to help her resolve the situation and ease her discomfort.

'We wish her a full and speedy recovery.'