A former school exams officer has thanked an optometrist at the Monmouth store for spotting signs of a potentially serious disease during an eye test.

Fiona Hughes was having a routine eye test at Specsavers on Monnow Street in February 2017 when her optometrist, Caroline Campbell, noticed a small brown ‘freckle’, or lesion, on her left eye, near her iris. As a precaution, she referred Fiona to Hereford County Hospital for further tests.

The ophthalmic surgeon thought that the lesion was probably benign but as a precaution surgically removed it in May. A biopsy carried out by the Sheffield Ocular Oncology Centre confirmed that the cells were, in fact, abnormal and it was melanoma, skin cancer.

Importance of sight tests

‘If it wasn’t for Caroline referring me to hospital, I would have had no idea I had cancerous cells developing in my eye,’ says Fiona.

‘I visited Specsavers for a routine eye test as I use reading glasses but I had not experienced any pain or other symptoms to make me think that anything was wrong with the health of my eyes.’

Fiona suffered pain in her left eye for two weeks after the operation until the tiny stitches dissolved and had to regularly wear sunglasses as her eye was sensitive to light, but says she feels overwhelmingly fortunate to have caught it so early.

‘I’m very lucky to have had the lesion removed,’ she says. ‘It’s scary to think how serious things could have been if it hadn’t been found. I have sight tests every two years and will definitely continue to do so after this. I urge everyone I know to do the same, even if you think you don’t need glasses, if only for peace of mind.’

‘Quick and professional response’

Fortunately, Fiona has no pain or complications and has been told she does not require any further treatment, although she will need to visit Hereford County Hospital for annual check-ups.

Store director Emily Anne-Frost says: ‘Fiona’s story shows exactly why regular eye tests are important. Even if your vision seems fine and you are not suffering pain or other symptoms, we always suggest having a check-up every two years. They can spot early signs of conditions or diseases that could become more serious if left untreated.

‘I’m glad Fiona has come out of this without serious injury or illness and am proud of the quick and professional response of Caroline in-store.’

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