A fourteen-year-old girl from Hamilton and her family have praised their local Specsavers after a routine eye examination detected signs of a tumour behind her optic nerve, ultimately saving her sight.

The discovery was made in 2017 when Beth McKendrick Rafferty was 12 and she has since had four operations and 52 weeks of chemotherapy – finally getting the good news that it had been successful last year.

'A complete shock'

Mum Claire said: 'Beth had complained of a headache that was growing more painful, and because she has worn glasses since the age of two, we thought she might need her prescription updated.

'We went to Hamilton Specsavers and I realised we were dealing with something more serious when the optician asked Beth to wait outside while he spoke to me.

'He showed me a picture taken during the examination and he’d noticed a change behind Beth’s right eye. The whole thing was a complete shock to me.'

The discovery meant a drastic change of plans for Beth, who had planned a sleepover with friends that evening. Instead she was referred to Hairmyres Hospital as a medical emergency where the young girl underwent another full examination.


The help needed in time

Over the next few weeks, Beth was called to Wishaw General Hospital multiple times where she received a number of CT scans until eventually an MRI scan confirmed her optician’s suspicions – a tumour was resting on the optic nerve behind her eye.

Through 2018 Beth then underwent a regular series of treatments at Glasgow Children’s Hospital including a biopsy to discover the tumour was benign, a gradual draining procedure and weekly chemotherapy sessions to help prevent any growth or irreparable damage to her eyesight. Finally, in 2019, Beth and her family were relieved to learn the tumour had reduced in size and that the chemotherapy had been a success.

Claire added: 'Beth currently has to have MRI scans every three months to monitor her eye and while these will reduce in frequency, they are going to continue for the rest of her life. If we didn’t pay a visit to Specsavers that day, who knows what the story would have been.

'The Specsavers team were incredibly welcoming, calming and professional on the day and thanks to their quick referral, we were able to get Beth the medical attention so needed in time.'

Potentially life-saving

Beth’s story highlights the importance of regular eye examinations, which in can reveal a range of other conditions and, in some cases, can even be life-saving or sight-saving and life-saving.

Emma Foster, store director at Specsavers Hamilton, said: 'Beth’s case, although rare, is an example of how vital it is to go for a regular eye examinations and to contact your optometrist if you’re experiencing any issues with your eyesight or discomfort.

'We recommend getting your eyes checked every two years as they can detect various health conditions, not just changes in prescriptions.

'We’re thrilled to hear that Beth is doing much better. She’s a wonderful girl and is always so friendly and talkative whenever she pays us a visit in store.'

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