Ballyclare lady Elsa McAuley had her usual routine eye test in June 2019. It was at this appointment that store partner Andrew Lowry detected that all was not as it should be.
‘Elsa is a very active and fit lady of 82 and her vision in recent years has always been stable. A glasses wearer for both reading and distance, she has always scrupulously maintained her routine eye visits.’
‘I noticed something at the back of the eye. It could easily have been a birthmark, but I believed there was more to it and referred Elsa to the Royal Victoria Hospital for further investigations.’
Scans revealed melanoma
Subsequent scans revealed a melanoma, a form of cancer in the eye. Elsa embarked on specialist radiotherapy at Sheffield Hospital.
‘The journey to Sheffield Hospital was my first ever plane journey,’ said Elsa, ‘My daughter Jennifer came with me and I simply didn’t have time to think about anything and just got on with it. We travelled over for a pre-op check and then for the actual treatment. Everything went very well, and my sight is good. I now go for regular post-treatment check-ups at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
Regular eye tests are so important
‘I wanted to tell my story as it shows how important regular routine eye tests are. I had no idea anything was wrong. As far as I was concerned my sight was good and I had no pain or even discomfort. I lost my husband to cancer twenty years ago and am so aware of enjoying and appreciating good health.
‘I’m really grateful to Andrew for detecting the tumour. He is so patient and attentive and all the staff in the store are so pleasant. As well as Andrew, I would very much like to thank the teams at both Sheffield and the Royal Victoria Hospital. Their medical care has really been wonderful.’