A schoolboy on work experience has been praised for helping save a man’s eyesight.

Alexander Pickering, 15, was on a placement at Specsavers in Ripon when holidaymaker John Morgan, who was suffering from blurred vision, called in.

Alexander, who attends Ripon Grammar School, ran the diagnostic scan which alerted the optician to something unusual in the retina.

Mr Morgan was urgently referred to Harrogate Hospital, which quickly revealed a dangerous blockage in the main retinal vein, a condition which can lead to a permanent loss of vision.

Mr Morgan said: “Thankfully, because I was diagnosed so early, there is a chance I can save my eye and maintain some vision."

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Alexander, who has been trained to use the 3D optical diagnostic scanner, which can detect sight-threatening eye conditions early, said: "I was really pleased that the pre-test I did picked up Mr Morgan’s eye condition.

"Thankfully, the optician was able to confirm the diagnosis and contacted the hospital to make an immediate appointment for him.

"If it had not been picked up, he could have gone blind."

The Northern Echo: Alexander Pickering, 15, on placement at Specsavers in RiponAlexander Pickering, 15, on placement at Specsavers in Ripon

The year 10 student, who will be taking his GCSEs next year and is aiming for a career in healthcare, said: "I was thrilled to play a small part in a much bigger team of people at Specsavers, in helping to save someone's sight.

"I never expected to learn so much and achieve something so worthwhile during my work experience.”

Mr Morgan, from Salford, who is keen to raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations following his shock diagnosis, will now need an injection in his eye every month for the next year.

He said: “I may not fully get all of my vision back, however if undiagnosed, I could have completely gone blind in that eye.

He praised the whole Specsavers team for their speedy reaction and support, saying: “Alexander, who was on a work placement and conducted the pre-test, initially scanned my eye and flagged an issue with optician Caroline Sullivan immediately.

The Northern Echo: John Morgan with his wife DeniseJohn Morgan with his wife Denise

“The team at Ripon Specsavers were fantastic and got me in for an appointment straight away and even organised my hospital appointment.

“My experience shows how a routine eye test can help diagnose other worrying health issues and I’d urge everyone to book in an eye exam, no matter how small they feel the problem may be."

He added: "Alexander was very polite and confident in what he was doing.

"I am sure he will make a success of whatever career he chooses. He is a credit to his parents and his school."

Alexander has been offered part-time work as a customer services assistant at the Specsavers store.

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