After experiencing changes in her vision, a Chelmsley Wood resident visited her local Specsavers for what transpired to be a potentially lifesaving eye test.


Sight symptoms

Susan Hetherington had noticed a deterioration in her eyesight, especially while driving, as well as experiencing dizzy spells and flashing lights in her vision. Concerned by the changes and wanting to rule out her eyesight as the cause before a visit to her GP, Susan made an appointment online for an eye examination at Specsavers on Greenwood Square.


After a full eye examination, which included taking a picture of the back of her eyes using digital retinal photography, optometrist, Lucy Wilson, explained that Susan’s prescription had indeed changed but more concerningly, that they had spotted an anomaly on her right optic nerve.


A trip to BMEC

Lucy referred Susan to the Birmingham Midland Eye Centre for further tests, and after walking into the hospital the day after her eye examination, Susan left ten days later.


‘I underwent a lot of tests,’ explains Susan. ‘They established that the problem with my sight wasn’t down to a change in my vision, it was a symptom of a bigger problem. They sent me for a CT scan at Birmingham City Hospital in the early hours of the morning. At around 3 am they woke me to explain that they had found a mass on the CT scan that needed further examination.


‘From here I saw neurologists at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham as I’d been diagnosed with a meningioma, a tumour that forms on membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord just inside the skull,’ continues Susan.


Life-saving surgery

The tumour was causing pressure and damage to her optic nerve and was sat on a cerebral artery, putting her at risk of a stroke. Susan remained in hospital under close observation and was put on medication to prevent seizures. After more scans, the decision was made to operate and remove the tumour.


‘It was hard waiting for the surgery, I had a lot of scans to monitor the mass and still suffered from headaches, tiredness and pain in my head,’ adds Susan. ‘I didn’t realise that Specsavers would be able to pick something like this up with a simple eye test. If I hadn’t booked that appointment online, I never would have known.


‘The specialists have said that the tumour has thankfully been caught early. When I think about it, the symptoms had been there for some time, I just didn’t put them together and they seemed quite minor on their own. I’m so grateful to Lucy at Specsavers for spotting this and making the referral, which is why I wanted to share my story and remind people to make that appointment for an eye test. Even if nothing has changed with your vision, they check more than just your prescription.’


A word from Lucy

Optometrist, Lucy Wilson concludes; ‘I’m glad Susan decided to come and see us that day. Detecting conditions such as a meningioma isn’t something that happens every day, but it is one of many health concerns that can be picked up during an eye examination at Specsavers. We’re here to help monitor your eye health and can’t stress how important it is to go for your eye test every two years, or sooner if you notice changes.’


The optometrists at Specsavers Chelmsley Wood have accreditations in glaucoma and minor eye conditions (MECs). 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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