A Forfor local was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour after he visited Specsavers in the town following difficulty reading the score while watching football.

Graeme Horton (46) received treatment for the tumour after optometrist Jayne Smeaton referred him to the eye clinic at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee. Graeme went on to marry his partner just two weeks later.

Perfect vision

Before experiencing trouble reading football scores on the television, Graeme had perfect vision and visited the opticians every two years for an eye examination.

Graeme said: ‘At first I thought the problem with my vision was just due to tiredness but the issue persisted. When I closed my left eye, I could see out of my right eye perfectly well. But when I closed my right eye, I struggled to see out of my left.

‘My partner Joanne persuaded me to make an appointment at Specsavers.’

Hospital referral

Graeme’s vision was examined by Jayne. She said: ‘Graeme had 20/20 vision prior to his eye test in March last year. However, it quickly became apparent that he had very poor vision in his left eye.

‘This sort of drastic change is quite uncommon. The appropriate prescription to aid the vision in Graeme’s left eye did not help him to see any better.

‘This, alongside the left eye testing abnormal for colour vision prompted me to suspect that there may have been a problem with his nerve supply to the eye. I referred Graeme to eye specialists at Ninewells Hospital straight away for further tests.’

After several tests and an MRI scan, Graeme was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour on his pituitary gland. The tumour had grown to the point where it was causing his optic nerve to bend, affecting the vision in his left eye.

Graeme continued: ‘I underwent surgery to remove the tumour in August 2015 at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

‘When I regained consciousness, I noticed the difference in my sight straight away. I was able to see the numbers on the clock in the recovery room clearly.’

Recovery Jayne added: ‘Graeme recovered quickly and his sight was tested at the hospital and again by me this summer. His vision has returned to the same standard it was before he started to suffer symptoms of the brain tumour.’

Graeme still takes prescribed tablets and regular hormone injections following the surgery and will continue to do so until his pituitary gland is fully functioning again. He will also undergo regular MRI scans for the next ten years to monitor for any signs of the tumour reoccurring.

Graeme said: ‘I’ve kept a photo of the tumour to remind me how lucky I was that it was discovered – it was the size of a small potato. ‘I honestly thought that I needed glasses and was initially reluctant to book an appointment. My diagnosis just shows how important it is to pay attention to any changes in your vision, even if they don’t seem that significant.

‘I’d like to thank the staff at Specsavers and Jayne in particular for acting so fast and referring me straight away.’

Importance of regular eye exams

Blair Michie, store director at Specsavers in Forfar, said: ‘Graeme’s diagnosis highlights just how important regular eye examinations can be – we typically recommend getting your eyes checked every two years for those aged four upwards.

‘Eye exams should be an important part of everyone’s overall health routine, no matter their age. Some people wait until they experience symptoms to see an optometrist but shouldn't because many eye problems and other underlying health conditions can be silent - meaning they have no symptoms.

'I would encourage everyone who has never had an eye exam before to come and have one. For some reason we are programmed from an early age to go to the dentist every six months but the same routine care doesn't seem to be the case for many people for one of their primary senses – eyesight. An eye exam is an essential health check and not about the need for glasses.

‘We’re very thankful that our routine eye test helped to identify the tumour and encouraged Graeme to seek treatment.’

All Forfar store information