Patient Stories

My life was saved by a visit to my optometrist.

Brandi Etheridge – Meridian, MS

Brandi woke up with a sharp pain under her ear, and she really didn’t feel well. But as a busy working mom, she just brushed it aside and headed to her job as a nurse in a retirement home in Alabama. As the day wore on, Brandi’s pain began to worsen, and she noticed a strange change in her pupils that worried her. A doctor who also worked at the retirement home checked Brandi over and suggested that she call her optometrist immediately. Brandi called Dr. Ivey’s cell phone and left a voicemail and text. Dr. Ivey was seeing patients in Louisville, but he called Brandi back as soon as he could. After hearing her symptoms, a concerned Dr. Ivey told Brandi to meet him at his office in Meridian.

Dr. Ivey and Brandi arrived at the eye clinic in Meridian at the same time. Dr. Ivey immediately recognized Brandi’s condition as acute horners syndrome (a rare condition that is caused by damage to the sympathetic nerves to the face) and sent her straight to the ER for a CTA scan. The ER tests showed that Brandi had a spontaneous carotid dissection, which left untreated can lead to a stroke. As time was critical, Brandi was quickly airlifted to UMMC for emergency surgery.

His swift diagnosis and plan may very well have saved Brandi’s life.

In the ICU, the neurosurgeon at UMMC made the decision to forgo surgery and treat Brandi with medicine and rest. She soon recovered, but she continues to see Dr. Ivey on a regular basis for the acute Horner syndrome. She’ll never forget Dr. Ivey’s quick action and dedication to making her health a priority. Today she is a happy wife and mother who’s grateful for her lucky outcome.

Because Dr. Ivey is Brandi’s trusted family eye doctor, he knew her well enough to recognize a sense of urgency when she called him. His swift diagnosis and plan may very well have saved Brandi’s life.

Having a trusted relationship with your family eye doctor is important – not only for your vision – but also for your overall health. In addition to uncovering problems with vision, a thorough annual eye exam can also lead to the detection of many health conditions, like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, or thyroid disease.