James Campbell, a fireman from Coleraine, woke up one Saturday morning with blurred vision in his left eye. Already a customer of Specsavers in Coleraine he made a quick call to have a routine check. A few hours later he was to receive information which effectively saved his life.

Eyesight concerns

Judith Ball, store director, Specsavers, Coleraine, said: ‘James is a longstanding customer of Specsavers since 2009 and would regularly have been in to see us to get safety glasses for work as a fire fighter. When he rang saying he was experiencing a slight blurriness in one eye we told him to come in straight away just for a routine check.’

Advanced technology takes detailed pictures

Using a digital retinal camera and other relevant equipment, our optician, Jill Cummings, spotted signs of a tumour. This sophisticated piece of equipment allows our opticians to take a detailed picture of the back of the eye and is part of the service we offer at no extra charge. As opticians we can’t give a definite diagnosis for something like this but we are instantly aware of any potential issues and can recommend further investigation by a doctor and the need for urgency!

Immediate hospital treatment

Later that same day James was seen by a consultant at Altnagelvin Hospital who confirmed that he had a choroidal melanoma, or potentially cancerous tumour, behind his eye. Within two weeks he was in Royal Liverpool Hospital having life-saving surgery by one of the world’s leading specialists in eye cancer, Professor Bertil Damato.

So thankful

James said: ‘You don’t realise how important your eyesight is until you are in the position I was in. I’m not fully back to normal as the peripheral vision in my left eye is still affected but I can still work as a fire fighter and I feel in great health. I am so thankful to everyone who was involved in my care and enjoy every minute I have.’

Routine eye checks are essential

Store director, Judith, added: ‘James’s case really does highlight the need for looking after your eye health. We advise all our customers to get their eyes tested every two years or more frequently if recommended by your opticians. However, if they’re experiencing any problems like James, then they should contact us without delay. James continues to visit us on a regular basis and attends regular reviews at the hospital for his eye condition and it is wonderful to see that he has made a good recovery.’

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