A local woman from Pelsall is thanking optician Justine Page and advising everyone to have regular eye examinations after a routine test at Specsavers in Brownhills High Street picked up a potentially life-threatening condition.

Margaret O’Reilly had not been experiencing any pain or problems with her vision, but was due to have her regular sight test. Her test was proceeding as normal, until store director Justine spotted a small ‘bump’, or raised area in the retina at the back of Margaret’s right eye.

Justine thought this needed further investigation, and so referred her to Birmingham Eye Hospital to have a more detailed examination. The hospital carried out a number of further tests and took pictures of the inside of Margaret’s eye and detected a small ciliary body melanoma, an incredibly rare type of tumour.

Margaret’s consultant referred her to the Sheffield Royal Hallam hospital for specialist treatment, where the medical team expressed surprise that the tumour had been picked up by Specsavers as it was very small and hard to detect. ‘That was just another testament to the diligence of Justine,’ said Margaret. ‘She was amazing – the thought of being referred to hospital during a routine eye test could have been very scary, but Justine explained the situation calmly and clearly and helped me to understand why she wanted me to be seen by a specialist.

‘The tumour was so small, the consultants at Sheffield couldn’t decide if it was likely to be malignant as it didn’t show all the indicators, but they decided it was best to remove it anyway,’ explained Margaret.

And it was lucky that they did as the tumour was indeed malignant and would have spread to other areas with Margaret’s body had it not been detected.

Following six-monthly checks at the hospital in Sheffield, Margaret will continue to be monitored by the Dudley Road Hospital in Birmingham for a further four years. Justine commented: ‘Although it’s been a long road, Margaret is finally on the road to recovery and although she has suffered a deterioration of the vision in the affected eye, the outcome could have been so much worse.’

Margaret continued: ‘I’m so grateful to the team here at Specsavers; without Justine’s diligence and quick referral, who knows what the result could have been. It just goes to show the importance of regular eye tests. I didn’t have any issues with my sight, and was just having a routine examination when Justine made the discovery, so don’t wait until you think something is wrong – get your eyes tested every two years… I’m certainly glad I went to Specsavers.’

Research published by Specsavers and charity the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable. The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

The optometrists at Specsavers Brownhills have an accreditation in minor eye conditions (MECs) and a certificate in glaucoma. It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions allowing more people to be treated in store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services. 

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