Winder man credits optometrist with saving his life - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Winder man credits optometrist with saving his life

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ATLANTA -

Imagine going to the optometrist to check out your eyes, and getting something much more shocking in return. It happened to Winder resident John Gallamore, and he says his optometrist saved his life.

Winder optometrist Dr. Darrell Sorah and his longtime patient, Gallamore, have a spotty history.

"I probably saw him once every three or four years. He was not a big, 'I go to the doctor guy'," said Sorah.

"Being a guy, we don't go to the doctor immediately. You know, just give it a few minutes and everything will be all right. Give it a little time, you'll get well," said Gallamore.

Gallamore says he started to notice some peculiar symptoms, like double vision.

"It happened when I was driving. It would last two or three minutes and then go away," explained Gallamore.

Then a trip to the store produced another strange incident.

"My wife said something and I started to respond and I slurred my speech. I was slumped and that went away in about 30 seconds. I knew then that there was a serious problem but I didn't know what it was," said Gallamore.

With double vision and temporary blindness plaguing him, he finally visited Sorah for an eye exam.

"When we were at the machine and he was actually doing the exam, he said ‘Uh, oh, I see the problem,'" said Gallamore.

Sorah found a blocked blood vessel. He says plaque in eye vessels are just a symptom of a major blockage in the system, and a precursor to a major stroke.

He told Gallamore to get to an emergency room as quickly as possible.

"I said, ‘John, we're done. We're not going to go any further. I can call you an ambulance, if your wife's here we can get you to the hospital, but we're going to the hospital," said Sorah.

At the hospital, a cardiologist determined Gallamore had 100 percent blockage in his left carotid artery. Emergency surgery saved his life, and Gallamore credits his optometrist.

"I would either have had a major stroke and would have been immobile or I'd be dead. I am alive because of him," Gallamore said.

The Georgia Optometric Association recommends a yearly comprehensive eye exam. That's very different from a vision screening. It's much more thorough and can detect other medicals issues in the body. For more information vist the GOA website or Facebook page.

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