Bloxwich resident Louise Jordan is urging people to keep up to date with their eye examinations after she was diagnosed with cancer following a routine test.
Louise (49) hadn’t been experiencing any issues with her vision, but a letter through the post reminding her that her routine sight test was due prompted her to make an appointment at her local opticians, Specsavers in Bloxwich.
Optometrist, Taj Showker carried out the full eye examination which included using a digital retinal camera to take a picture of the back of Louise’s eyes. He quickly picked up that all wasn’t as it should be – noticing a suspicious lesion on the back of Louise’s right eye and knew that she needed to be referred for further tests.
‘It was a bit of a shock, but Taj was calm and reassuring which really helped,’ commented Louise. ‘I have private health care so took the referral letter Taj gave me and went to the Nuffield Hospital in Wolverhampton, where they put drops in my eyes and carried out further tests.’
The doctors explained that the lesion in Louise’s eye was either a freckle or a melanoma – and that for a more accurate diagnosis she should be seen by a specialist at the Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Here the diagnosis was confirmed as a choroidal melanoma – a cancer that affects part of the eye.
‘It was such a shock,’ added Louise. ‘Having no symptoms at all you never anticipate something like this. But the good news was that it had been picked up – if left untreated I could have lost my sight, plus the cancer could have spread to other parts of my body without me realising.’
Louise underwent an operation to insert a radiotherapy plaque into her right eye - eye-sparing low energy radiation therapy – which was removed after 48 hours.
Follow-up appointments monitored the health of the eye, while an appointment for later this year will act as a precautionary check to ensure the cancer hasn’t spread to other parts of Louise’s body.
‘It’s been a fairly distressing time – but I’m just so fortunate that the condition was picked up and is now being monitored,’ added Louise. ‘I’m incredibly grateful to the team at Specsavers and the doctors and staff at the Nuffield and Moorfields hospitals too, without them my future could look very bleak indeed. It’s also highlighted to me just how important it is to keep up your routine sight tests.’
‘Louise’s story really does demonstrate how important it is to keep up-to-date with your eye examinations,’ said Taj. ‘Although choroidal melanomas are rare the fact that they are often symptomless makes it more important to see your optician regularly. We encourage all our customers to visit their optician every two years unless they are experiencing any issues with their vision, in which case they should make an appointment right away.’