A 72-year-old man who was diagnosed with cancer in his left eye has praised an Aberystwyth senior optometrist who first spotted symptoms of the potentially fatal disease.

Cancerous melanoma

Retired consultant Gerald Pearson visited Specsavers in Aberystwyth after suffering a flickering sensation in his left eye for two days. He was seen by senior optometrist and store director, Graham Park, who confirmed that Mr Pearson had a detached retina and arranged for him to have scans at the North Road eye clinic the same day.

The tests revealed that the detached retina had been caused by a cancerous melanoma in his eye.

Mr Pearson was then seen at the Ocular Oncology Centre at the Royal Liverpool Hospital, and was given the option to either have the eye removed or have markers placed on the tumour, which could be later treated with radiotherapy. He chose to have a two-hour operation to have markers on the tumour, despite knowing the risk that the cancer may spread.

Mr Pearson then had eye proton therapy at Clatterbridge Cancer Hospital in Wirral.

Almost inoperable tumour

He says: ‘The doctors told me that my tumour was 5.9mm in length, with 6mm being the maximum size that they would operate on. I was shocked, to say the least, that I was so close to having an inoperable and potentially fatal tumour on my eye.’

Mr Pearson now visits the eye clinic in Aberystwyth every two months for check-ups, but a scan at the Royal Liverpool Hospital in May this year confirmed that the treatments had been successful in reducing the size of the tumour.

He continues: ‘I can’t thank the Specsavers staff enough, especially Graham, for helping me when I most needed it.’

Graham Park says: ‘If you have even the slightest concern that there is something wrong with your vision or your eye health in general, it’s crucial that you consult an optician as soon as possible. For many, there will be no cause for concern, but an eye test can be indicative of a more serious and life-threatening condition, as Gerald’s case has shown.’

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