A young boy from Durham is on the road to recovery thanks to a crucial intervention by his local Specsavers optician.

Nine-year-old Frankie Crow, from Browney, was referred to the hospital in February after a routine eye test by newly qualified Specsavers Durham optometrist, Williams Okezie.

Williams noticed something unusual when he examined images of Frankie’s optic nerve and sent him to the hospital for further investigation. 

An MRI scan and ultrasound at Darlington Memorial Hospital later revealed there was too much fluid around his brain and Frankie was blue-lighted to the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle for examination. 

Neurosurgeons discovered young Frankie had papilledema (the swelling of the optic discs) and needed an endoscopic ventriculostomy, where a section of his skull was removed, and a needle inserted to drain the excess fluid from around the brain. 

After a 9am surgery, football-mad Frankie was up eating his favourite lunch, chicken nuggets, and by 1.30pm he was greeted by his relieved and thankful family. 

‘Nine times out of ten these signs appearing in an eye test may be nothing to worry about, but in rarer cases it can be extremely dangerous so it’s important that precautionary checks are carried out – as Frankie’s story demonstrates. 

‘Williams’ quick thinking and action is a credit to the store. Since qualifying he has demonstrated incredible skill and is a true asset to our team. 

‘We are all so glad to hear Frankie is on the mend after what was no doubt a huge scare for him and his family. The importance of getting regular eye tests cannot be overstated. In rare instances they really can be the difference between life and death.’ 

Specsavers Durham ophthalmic director Gavin Donnelly

‘Without Mr Okezie’s referral, this diagnosis would have gone unnoticed for a number of months, or even years, and I dread to think what could have happened. 

‘I am eternally grateful for his swift response and actions which mean we now have Frankie back, fighting fit and healthy. 

‘We’ll be back for regular eye tests and would encourage everyone to do the same and make sure they take time to see their optician.’ 

Frankie’s dad Liam

To book an appointment or speak to a member of the team at Specsavers Durham store, visit or call 0191 383 9495. 

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