A Solihull mother is urging parents to ensure they get their children’s eyes regularly tested after her son was diagnosed with a life-threatening condition following a routine appointment at a Specsavers in Solihull. 

Lucy Gebruers was visiting the store with her six-year-old son Joshua and eight-year-old daughter Amelia, for a routine eye examination.  As neither children had been having any untoward symptoms, Mrs Gebruers had no idea how the day would unfold. 

Both children were seen by the store’s optician Farah Shah, and while Amelia’s sight test was perfectly normal, Mrs Shah was concerned about the results shown through Joshua’s test, which indicated that he was suffering from papilloedema (optic disc swelling caused by increased intracranial pressure). Joshua was referred immediately to the Birmingham Eye hospital.


An MRI scan revealed that Joshua was suffering from a rare condition called Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM), which puts sufferers at high risk of a stroke. He was admitted to hospital and had to undergo a course of radiotherapy to help reduce the papilloedema. Fortunately, the prognosis is positive with doctors confident that after regular check-ups and additional courses of radiotherapy Joshua will be free from the condition.

‘Stories like Joshua’s, although very rare, show how important it is to ensure you and your children visit your optician regularly,’ said Brad Parkes, store director.  ‘As well as checking your vison an eye examination can also pick up on a range of medical conditions and so really is a vital health check. We advise customers to visit us at least every two years, unless of course they are experiencing any problems in which case they should come in sooner.’

Further heart ache

Sadly, the Gebruers family have faced more adversity as Joshua and Amelia’s father passed away earlier this year as a result of a brain tumour.  Since the news of her brother’s illness, (diagnosed just a couple of weeks before her father’s) Amelia has been tirelessly fundraising, raising more than £20,000 for the brain tumour charity, The Butterfly AVM Charity, and Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Her work has most recently been recognised at the Pride of Britain awards where she claimed the title of the Lidl Young Fundraiser of the Year.

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