Visiting Specsavers in Melton Mowbray for a regular eye check up proved to be a life-changing and potentially life-saving trip for local lorry driver Stuart Ball.
Due to the demanding time requirements of his job, Mr Ball, 52, had not had an eye test for two years when he attended his appointment at the store. With a lack of symptoms, Mr Ball thought the appointment was perfectly routine – until it resulted in an immediate referral to the hospital.
Optometrist, Dilraj Gumber, carried out the eye examination, and immediately spotted an anomaly which looked like a green spot behind Mr Ball’s eye, which he first suspected to be a birthmark as there were no symptoms of disease. On closer inspection, Dilraj identified it as a suspected melanoma and immediately informed Mr Ball that he was referring him to hospital for an urgent check.
‘I was totally shocked,’ said Mr Ball. ‘I had had no issues relating to my eyesight at all.’
With Dilraj’s emergency referral, Mr Ball was seen the following day, and referred straight to Sheffield Royal Hallamshire Hospital eye specialists, where they confirmed the diagnosis as a choroidal melanoma.
‘I knew there was something seriously wrong when the doctor at Leicester Royal Infirmary referred me urgently to Sheffield Hospital,’ said Mr Ball. ‘Waiting for the call from Sheffield with an appointment and then waiting to be seen was indescribable.
‘It was a whole month before going to Sheffield so, although I tried not to think about it, it was always playing on my mind.’
Mr Ball is remaining positive about his prognosis: ‘I have now had my first lot of laser treatment to try and kill the tumour and save my eyesight so that I can continue to work.
‘Time will tell, and I am just waiting now for my second appointment where we will see if the first treatment has changed the tumour – hopefully for the better!’
Dilraj said: ‘It’s a relief to know that Mr Ball is receiving excellent specialised treatment and we were able to assist in catching and diagnosing the melanoma early.
‘Unfortunately, it is all-too-common that we think everything is healthy because we don’t have any obvious symptoms to tell us otherwise, and it’s only a routine check-up that tells the whole picture. I would urge all locals to have their eyes tested every two years so that we can monitor what’s going on with vision and changes in the eye, making it much easier to catch anomalies.’