A young woman was told she had Covid-19 when actually she had a potentially fatal blood clot.
Amandeep Bains, 23, said she now owes her life to an optician who spotted the warning signs and prevented a possible stroke or brain damage.
The young woman is now begging people to go see their doctor if they suspect they are ill and not to delay seeing someone even in the pandemic lockdown.
Miss Bains, of Hounslow, west London, started noticing rashes and joint pain in January which doctors initially told her were caused by eczema and arthritis.
But then as the world locked down in March, the 23-year-old from Hounslow suffered headaches, dizziness and short blackouts.
Doctors over the phone then amended the diagnosis to Covid-19.
But knowing it was more than the virus, Miss Bains contacted her uncle Satvinder Shoker who runs an opticians in Kent.
He asked his niece to come in for tests at Kings Hill Opticians in West Malling and found haemorrhages in the blood vessels behind both her eyes and her optic nerves were extremely swollen.
Mr Shoker, 39, said: “I sent her straight to the Prince Charles Eye Unit in Windsor and gave her copies of all the scans that I had taken, so that she could give them to whoever saw her.”
Further tests over the next few days revealed Miss Bains had a blood clot caused by two underlying chronic conditions.
She was diagnosed with Lupus, an autoimmune disease which causes her body to attack her red blood cells, and Hughes Syndrome, which causes sticky blood and aggravates the Lupus.
Sticky blood syndrome is a major cause of strokes in people under the age of 50 and just like Miss Bains, it is often only diagnosed after a person has had a number of blood clots.
Miss Bains admits the results left her reeling and said her uncle’s actions saved her from a possible stroke or brain damage.
She added: “If Satvinder hadn’t told me to come in I would’ve stayed at home because it was right in the middle of lockdown and I wasn’t able to see a doctor in person; they couldn’t diagnose me because it was all done over the phone.”
Mr Shoker added: “I’m glad I could help because during the lockdown period it was quite tough because a lot of patients detracted from seeing doctors and from having regular appointments.
“We were still operating as a business and providing essential services so it was nice that we were able to help at such a difficult time.
“The eyes provide a window on general health and regular eye tests are about so much more than finding out if you need prescription glasses.
“A good optician will be able to identify early markers of a whole range of potential conditions to make sure you get early medical attention.”