An optician in Saffron Walden is being hailed as a local hero after identifying a potentially life- threatening brain tumour in a six-year-old boy.

Chronic headaches

Jude Mack was taken into Specsavers in Hill Street for an eye test after the sudden onset of chronic headaches. He was seen by locum optometrist Bihari Jenagel who noticed an abnormal object when examining the back of Jude’s eye. Bihari urgently referred Jude to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where a CAT scan confirmed the presence of a tumour. Two days later he underwent major brain surgery to remove the benign tumour.


Bihari says: ’I was very surprised by what I could see during the test. It is always difficult to be 100% sure about these types of things however I knew there was an abnormality following the scan. There was a dark object which appeared to be at the back of the eye. I’m just so happy that we were able to find it early and get Jude the treatment he needed. This is a perfect example of why regular eye testing is so important, particularly for children.’


Following the scans in hospital, it was identified that while the tumour was not in the eye, it was indeed growing against the optical nerve and was therefore a serious threat to young Jude’s eyesight and potentially his life.


Melanie Carter, Jude’s grandmother, says: ‘We are still so shocked by what the optician found. Jude had been complaining about his headaches for quite a while but when we took him in for an eye test, we never suspected it would be something so serious. We are eternally grateful to the Specsavers Saffron Walden store and Bihari for their hard work and expertise. If it wasn’t for the eye test, Jude may not have received the treatment that he desperately needed. I urge everyone to take eye tests seriously as they can literally save your life.’

Huge impact

Jude has now been given the all clear as he recovers from the brain surgery. His story has made a huge impact in the local community as friends of Jude’s father, Neil Mac, have come together to organise a fundraiser event to raise money to buy Jude a gift and make a donation to The Sick Children’s Trust which helps to support families with accommodation when their children are detained for treatment.


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