When Ann Flinn went for an eye test in April, the opticians found something suspicious.
The mum-of-two was trying to buy some prescription sunglasses ahead of her upcoming holiday to Benidorm, but her straightforward shopping trip led the optician to find some swelling on her optic nerve.
They referred the 54-year-old referred to the hospital for further tests, and an MRI revealed a shock diagnosis – Ann had a brain tumour.
Doctors suspected it was a meningioma – a non-cancerous tumour in the membranes that cover the brain.
Ann, of Haydock, Merseyside, said: ‘It came as a shock to me.
‘I needed new sunglasses for my holiday to Benidorm and needed a test because I’d gone two years [since the last one].
‘The eye test potentially saved my life because anything could have happened, and if not saved my life, it certainly saved my vision.
‘Because of the swelling I was in danger of having seizures.’
Just a week after the scan revealed the grape-sized tumour, Ann had surgery to remove it.
Ann said: ‘I had swelling on the brain which was causing swelling on the optic nerve.
‘The radiographer said: “I think it’s a meningioma but I can’t be certain. Either way the consultant has said that you need to go straight to the hospital.”
‘It was just sheer shock but I felt fine as I didn’t have any symptoms.
‘I saw the pictures and I’d say it was probably the size of a big grape.
‘At that stage, they were more concerned about the swelling because that was bigger and spread further over my brain than it should have been for that particular type of tumour.’
Ann wasn’t really affected emotionally by all this shocking news until after her surgery was over.
She explained: ‘I’m a very optimistic person and quite a strong female.
‘These things didn’t faze me at all and at one point I was so zen you would have thought I was on a different planet.
‘It was about three days after surgery that it dawned on me how serious this thing was and what I’d just been through
‘I’ve got a long road of recovery, it’s going to take around 12 months for me to get back to normal.
‘But people are quite shocked at how well I look considering the style of surgery I’ve had and how severe it was.
‘I’ve pretty much just got on as normal as best as I can.’
Now that Ann’s through the worst of it, she wants to raise awareness about the fact that eye tests can do more than determine the quality of your eyesight.
Ann said: ‘I was warned that it could be cancerous, because of where it was they were 90% sure that it was the meningioma but there could be a possibility that it’s not.
‘It came back as benign, which was fabulous news.
‘Don’t put these things off. Us women, we do it all the time. I know some of my friends who are my age who are still putting off smear tests.
‘Eye tests are not as trivial as people seem to think. They are important.’
Specsavers’ clinical services director, Giles Edmonds, said: ‘Ann’s story highlights why a routine eye test, every two years, is so important.
‘Many people believe that eye tests are just for people who need – or might need – glasses, but they’re so much more than that. They give insight into your overall general health.
‘In rare cases, like Ann’s, they can detect serious health concerns, but they can also detect conditions like type two diabetes, high blood pressure or glaucoma. Incidences like this demonstrates how important and advanced your eye examination is.
‘Most of our Specsavers stores offer a service called OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) that takes a 3D scan of the eye and collects 1,000 images to help our opticians pick up any anomalies in eye health that could lead to early sight loss or more serious, life-threatening conditions like Ann’s.
‘So, if haven’t had a test for a while, don’t put it off any longer.’
Do you have a story to share?
Get in touch by emailing [email protected]
Source: Read Full Article