An eight-year-old is lucky to be alive after symptoms of a potentially life-threatening condition were detected during an eye test.

The grandmother of Kian Priest from Oakwood is now encouraging others to go and get their sight checked.

Cherryle Levett, from Stanley, had taken Kian to their local Specsavers store in Oakwood for a regular eye test before the new school term started. During the test, optometrist Laura Hirst discovered that Kian’s optic nerve was swollen and his optic discs were blurred.

Red flags

‘There are certain red flags that we look for during an eye test and Kian displayed two of these, which was a real cause for concern,’ explained store director Pratish Bhundia. ‘Our sophisticated technology allows us to examine the eye and the areas around it in great detail, and it was clear that these anomalies were part of a wider health problem.’

Laura immediately referred Kian to hospital for further testing. When she followed up with a call a week later to see how Kian had got on, she was concerned that Kian’s condition was becoming more urgent and advised Cherryle to take him to A&E with an urgent referral explaining his symptoms. Kian was seen at the hospital that afternoon, then sent for an appointment at the Derby Royal Optical Department the day after where an MRI scan was booked.

'extremely worried'

‘We were extremely worried,’ recalled Cherryle. ‘Kian had practically no symptoms leading up to this, except for a couple of headaches that we put down to him running around and being a kid. The Specsavers team did a fantastic job of reassuring us and working hard to make sure that Kian was seen urgently and by the right people at the hospital.’

The following week, Kian’s brain scan confirmed that he had two tumours in his brain.

‘It happened so quickly,’ continued Cherryle. ‘The moment we were told about the tumours, Kian was put into an ambulance and taken to the Queen’s Medical Hospital in Nottingham. One of the tumours was blocking his spinal fluid to his brain, so they needed to operate quickly to remove it.’

Despite being benign, the size of the tumours caused a life-threatening risk to Kian. He underwent a major operation to remove the tumour on the right side of his brain, while doctors continue to monitor the smaller one on the left of his brain. Kian will need treatment and monitoring for the rest of his life to ensure that any further tumours are picked up before they pose a serious risk.

‘I’m so proud of Kian – he’s been so brave,’ said Cherryle. ‘I want to say a huge thank you to staff at both hospitals for their amazing care, and also to the team at Specsavers. Without Laura spotting the problem and working hard to get us seen so quickly it might have been a different outcome.

Regular eye tests

‘I would like to encourage everyone to make sure that they are having regular eye tests, as you never know what they can detect.’

‘We are pleased to hear that Kian is doing well after his operation and to have played a part in getting his life-threatening tumour removed,’ said Pratish. ‘It’s cases like these that really highlight how important sight tests are as part of your healthcare routine.

‘Having sight examinations regularly allows us to monitor the health of the eyes and their surrounding area over a period of time. In most cases, there is nothing to worry about, but the training and expertise of our fantastic team mean that if there are any problems, we can pick them up very easily and quickly.

‘I would join with Cherryle in encouraging all those who are overdue their two-year check-up to book an appointment today.’

Important tests 

Eye tests are able to pick up a number of associated conditions which this case highlights. Research published by Specsavers and charity Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), shows one in five people will live with sight loss in their lifetime despite at least half of all cases being avoidable if detected early enough through examinations such as an eye test. The statistics also show that 300 people in the UK start living with sight loss every day.

The optometrists at Specsavers Oakwood have accreditations in glaucoma and minor eye conditions (MECs). It means the store can offer eye health services to help manage a number of eye conditions allowing more people to be treated in-store rather than having to go to their GP or hospital. Anyone experiencing symptoms such as pain, redness or flashes of light in their vision can access these services.

For all Oakwood store information