The importance of getting your eyes tested is being stressed by South Cerney resident, Roger Moyse after his eye was removed following a cancer diagnosis.
When he noticed a loss of vision, like someone was pulling a blind down, in his left eye, the 64-year-old made an appointment at Specsavers Cirencester. The store had availability the next day when store director and optometrist, Simran Sangha, carried out the test.
The enhanced eye test included an optical coherence tomography (OCT) scan which takes a detailed cross-sectional image of the eye, creating an extremely accurate picture of the eye and its structures. On examination of the results, Simran could see a separation of the layers of the retina and made an urgent, immediate referral to Cheltenham General Hospital. They got in touch the next day and made an appointment for Mr Moyse to come in a week later.
‘I had more tests and scans at Cheltenham where they told me I had a mass in my eye,’ said Mr Moyse. ‘I needed to go to a specialist eye hospital so was referred on again to The Royal Liverpool University Hospital where I was seen two weeks later. Following seven hours of more tests, the consultant confirmed I had cancer in my left eye. It was a large tumour which meant it would have to be removed rather than treated with radiation therapy.
‘It was a shock and upsetting to receive the news, but I was grateful it had been picked up and I could have the operation. A week later I was back in Liverpool for the one-hour procedure. I have sleep apnoea so to avoid the risk of potentially having to go to the high dependency unit afterwards, I was sedated and under local anaesthetic but able to chat to the surgeon throughout. Halfway through I mentioned I could feel something so they gave me more anaesthetic. I stayed in hospital for four days so they could make sure the pressure bandage could be removed. Once back at home, Bristol Eye Hospital provided a temporary prosthetic eye while I wait to go back for them to take the mould for a permanent version which will be a perfect match to my right eye.’
Rare form of cancer
The results of the biopsy from the tumour indicate that while the cancer has been removed from his eye, Mr Moyse is at high risk of it returning somewhere else. He will need regular check-ups with an oncologist to monitor things.
‘While the cancer is manageable, it’s not a cure. There are just 600 cases of uveal melanoma diagnosed in the UK each year, making it a rare cancer. I’ve joined OcuMel UK, a charity which supports those affected by eye cancer. It’s nice to have a resource I can use for help and advice. I’d not had an eye test for four years when I went to Specsavers so I’d urge anyone to make sure they have regular checks, it could prove to be important.’
‘When I looked at the OCT images, I knew something wasn’t right and that Mr Moyse needed to be seen at hospital,’ said Simran. ‘He did the right thing by making an appointment as soon as he noticed a change in his vision. We’re now in touch with OcuMel UK about making a donation so that they can continue to provide invaluable help and support to people like Mr Moyse.
‘We recommend regular eye tests every two years as it’s not just a prescription check, it’s to check the health of your eyes too. While eye cancer is rare, if something is picked up early, it can be treated more effectively. The OCT is a hugely valuable addition to our testing equipment and in this case proved vital in assisting with the diagnosis.’