A Chelmsford resident owes her life to Specsavers who discovered swelling behind both optic nerves during a routine eye examination.

41-year-old Helen Dennis visited Specsavers Chelmsford in June this year for an eye examination, after she started to experience headaches and double vision. During the examination, the optometrist took a photo of the back of Helen’s eye using the store’s digital retinal camera – a test that is included as part of a routine eye examination at Specsavers – and noticed swelling behind the optic nerves in both eyes, known as a papilledema.

Lifesaving trip to Specsavers

Chelmsford Maggie Glover, the examining optician, immediately referred Helen to Broomfield Hospital as an urgent referral. Helen then underwent a series of tests and subsequently underwent an MRI scan on 22 June 2014. Following the scan, Helen was diagnosed with a brain tumour.

Helen was then refereed to Queens Hospital where she had an eight and a half hour operation to remove an apple-sized tumour.

Helen said: ‘I was amazed at how quickly the whole thing was dealt with. If I hadn’t visited the optician when I did and then the hospital for treatment, the tumour could have continued growing and I could have died. I would advise anyone to make sure that they get their eye’s checked on a regular basis. I’ll be making sure the entire family keeps all of their appointments in the future.’

Digital retinal photography

Store director, Rajdeep Sehmi said: ‘Far from just testing how well you can see, an eye examination also provides a comprehensive health assessment. In Helen’s case it revealed a sight threatening condition. Not everyone realises the importance of regular eye examinations.’

Retinal photography is included in Specsavers Chelmsford eye examinations at no additional cost. The high-tech digital retinal camera produces detailed images of the back of the eye, known as the fundus. This is the only part of the body where the microcirculation of blood can be directly observed, and can reveal signs of a variety of health problems, including glaucoma, diabetes, inflammatory disorders, age-related macular degeneration and vascular occlusions. The camera enables images to be saved to provide a lasting record for future comparisons.

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