A chance visit to a local opticians to repair his damaged glasses proved to be a lucky break for 10-year-old Jaydn Jenson from Bodmin after a follow-up eye test revealed he was suffering from a life-threatening condition.
Jaydn has been wearing glasses since he was two years old and is often found out and about on his scooter near his home in Bodmin. However, he unfortunately smashed his specs after falling off his scooter in June, which required a visit to Specsavers Bodmin. His mum, Kim, dropped into the store on Fore Street on 7 June on the way to Jaydn’s school to collect his new glasses. While speaking to staff she mentioned that he had been suffering from terrible headaches, causing sickness and leaving him unable to function.
At this point, Bodmin Specsavers optical director Carl Grobler insisted that Jaydn had an eye test. ‘We will never take a risk with children if they are suffering from headaches, so I carried out a full eye test and on examining images of the back of his eyes, I could see an issue with his optic nerve, highlighting pressure behind the eye.
Carl continued: ‘The fact that the images of both eyes were showing the same picture was a small relief as frequently pressure behind one eye can be a sign of a brain tumour.’
In Jaydn’s case, Carl had detected a papilloedema, an optic disc swelling caused by increased intracranial pressure.
Kim said: ‘We’d been to the doctors about Jaydn’s headaches and they thought it was most likely migraines but, because of his age, there was little they could do. ‘Thanks to Carl’s quick response following Jaydn’s eye test we were told to go directly to Treliske Hospital for an MRI. It was terrifying but Carl and all the staff at Bodmin Specsavers and Treliske were just amazing. I was allowed to go into the MRI scanner with Jaydn, which provided some comfort.’
Just a few hours after the MRI Jaydn was diagnosed with hyper hydrocephalus, which is a build-up of fluid on the brain. The excess fluid had put additional pressure on the brain, which can prove fatal if left untreated. Jaydn was treated with a spinal tap that drained more than 4ml of fluid. He is due to go back to Treliske for another MRI in December.
Kim said: ‘I’m just pleased that we finally have an answer for Jaydn’s headaches. I was being asked at school if there was a problem at home because he was taking so much time off. ‘For now we’re keeping life normal. Jaydn still gets occasional headaches and we’re going back to Treliske for another MRI after Christmas. I honestly can’t thank Carl and the team at Specsavers enough though. They quite possibly saved my son’s life. Everyone I see I tell them to make sure they take their children for an eye test.’
The importance of eye tests
Carl said: ‘Eye tests can be carried out from the age of three. We have special symbols instead of letters on the reading chart to help us test a child’s eyes. Jaydn’s case was unusual but we would urge parents to bring their children in for regular eye tests as you would visit the dentist or other regular health checks.’