Mr Lee Crookes, aged 29 from Torquay, had been complaining of headaches for several weeks and was losing his balance uncontrollably stumbling into the road and falling out of bed. His GP diagnosed cluster headaches and booked a CT scan but his wife Samantha also booked him in for an eye test at Specsavers Torquay.

Lifesaving eye examination

Torquay Specsavers optometrist, Yee Jin Lim, said: ‘It was clear that something was not right because as I called his name he came towards me and walked straight into the reception desk, which is clearly visible.      

‘I sat him down and asked a series of questions to better understand the type of headaches Mr Crookes was experiencing. After performing his eye examination it was clear that Mr Crookes needed urgent attention. I referred him immediately to the hospital eye department.’

A medical emergency

Mr Crookes added: ‘After being referred to Torbay Hospital I thought I would just need a lumbar puncture. They did a few tests and the young doctor pushed for a CT scan. They came back to say they had found something and it looked like a very rare growth and we were taken straight to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth by ambulance.

‘The MRI scan revealed I had very rare large tumour called a central neurocytoma that mainly affects people in their 20's and 30's.  It was 7cm by 7cm.  I was told an operation would give me the best chance but it was extremely risky. However, if I didn't have the operation, I probably would have just collapsed in the street or at work one day.’

Mr Crookes had two operations, the first one was 11.5 hours where they managed to remove half of the tumour and the second to remove the rest of it was eight hours.’

On the road to recovery with advice for others

Mr Crookes commented: ‘I’m well on the road to recovery with the help of my wife, occupational therapists and physios from the Community Neuro Rehabilitation Team.

‘I would advise everyone to get their eyes tested, especially if they are getting headaches for a long period of time because it undoubtedly saved my life. It’s really important for me to make sure people know how important it is’.

Store director, Simon Simonds, adds: ‘Mr Crookes’ case is of course rare but it goes to show the lifesaving and sight saving results a simple half hour eye examination can have.’

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