Visiting Derby Specsavers for a regular eye examination proved to be a life saver for local resident Steven Graham.

Mr Graham, 57, hadn’t had an eye test for almost three years when he received a leaflet through his door that prompted him to book a check-up. During the examination at the store, optometrist Priyanka Patel spotted what looked like a small mark at the back of Mr Graham’s eye while doing a routine check of his retina.

While it’s normal to see marks on the retina, Ms Patel noticed that this particular mark seemed to be raised. After using the store’s Topcon 3D Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) system which is similar to ultrasound, for an even closer look, Ms Patel immediately referred Mr Graham to the eye clinic at Mickleover Hospital for further tests.

At the hospital, Mr Graham was diagnosed as having a slow-growing melanoma on the back of his eye and was sent to see a specialist at Sheffield Hospital. It was here that doctors revealed the melanoma was a rare type of malignant tumour which affects just five in every one million people.

Mr Graham said: ‘I’m so pleased I went to Specsavers when I did, thanks to Ms Patel the tumour was spotted very early. Following many more tests at Mickleover and Sheffield hospitals, I’ve had two operations and radiotherapy to get rid of the tumour. So far my treatment has been successful but it’s left me with blurred vision while my eye heals so I’m unable to work or drive at the moment.

‘For the next five years I’ll need to visit the hospital for a scan every six months to ensure I remain cancer free. I’m so grateful that the tumour was found and I’ve been able to get treatment before it was too late, that eye test may well have saved my life.’

Ms Patel said: ‘We’re used to seeing marks on people’s eyes and usually they’re completely harmless, but what I could see on the back on Mr Graham’s eye was different because it was a raised bump on the periphery of the retina. Thankfully, we spotted it early and are pleased to hear that Mr Graham is recovering well. It just goes to show how important it is to have regular eye examinations, whether you wear glasses or not.’

Store director, Raj Gohil, said: ‘The sophisticated technology we now have available has greatly enhanced the standard of eyecare we provide. In Mr Graham’s case, this equipment was essential in helping us to identify a problem and act quickly to help him.

‘We are the only opticians in Derby that provide the OCT system to customers free of charge as part of their eye examination. In fact, we now have two OCTs and we use them to create a three dimensional picture beneath the surface of the regular retinal image, allowing our opticians to easily diagnose, manage and refer customers to a specialist for further treatment, should it be required.’

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