If it hadn’t been for a routine sight test, Kingshurst mum Julie Fowler could have faced a very different Christmas last year.


Life-saving trip to Specsavers

The mother of three has always been an advocate of taking her children to see the optician regularly, so when a routine appointment came up for her daughter Madison in August, Julie was quick to get her booked in at her local Specsavers store in Castle Vale.


Madison was seen by the store’s graduate optometrist Harjit Bansal, who found nothing untoward but did note a marked change in the nine-year-olds prescription. As this was unusual, he asked Julie to make another appointment for three months’ time so that they could review Madison’s vision again. 


A trip to the hospital

On returning to the store in October, Harjit used digital retinal photography to take photos of the back of Madison’s eyes as a part of a full examination. This revealed that all wasn’t right, with Harjit detecting that the optic nerves at the back of her eye were swollen. He made an immediate referral to Birmingham Eye Hospital. After being assessed there Madison was admitted to the City hospital where she underwent an MRI before being transferred to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.


‘It was all a shock,’ comments Julie. ‘We never imagined anything serious like this. Madison had been having some headaches, but her blood tests were all normal, so we assumed none the worse.’


The MRI confirmed that Madison was suffering from a papilloedema as a result of a tumour growing at the back of her eye and that she would require surgery to remove it. The situation was made more distressing as Julie’s husband couldn’t join his family due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


Madison underwent two operations to remove the tumour, which fortunately was benign. Following two weeks in hospital, Madison returned home and is now recovering well.


‘I can’t begin to thank Harjit and his team enough,’ adds Julie. ‘To think that if he hadn’t been so cautious in that first appointment to call us back after three months, Madison’s tumour would have continued to grow and who knows what may have happened.’


A word from the store director

‘We’re delighted to hear that Madison is home and on the mend,’ adds Sukhi Drake, store director Specsavers Castle Vale.  ‘We’re very impressed by Harjit’s commitment to care and his management of this situation. For someone in their early part of their career this is particularly commendable and we’re proud to have him on our team.


‘Stories like Madison’s show the importance of ensuring you and your family see your optician regularly, and of course of making an appointment right away if you notice any changes to your vision or experience any problems.’


All Castle Vale store information