Detecting a tumour in the eye – Kelly Luff

An eye examination picks up a broader health issues, as well as a variety of eye health and sight problems. Kelly Luff explains how a routine visit to the optometrist saved her life.

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Kelly Luff, 35, a mother of four from Stevenage is urging people to remember the importance of looking after their eyes and going for regular eye exams.

Kelly went for her first eye test in five years in October last year. She hadn’t noticed any changes to her eyes and only had the sight test because she was getting her children’s eyes examined at the same time. Kelly had always had a freckle on her eye and the optometrist noticed straight away there appeared to be something on the freckle. Suspecting a tumour Ash Shah, the optometrist referred Kelly to her local hospital and then to Moorfields where doctors confirmed in January this year that the tumour was cancerous. Whilst Kelly has had to undergo specialist radiotherapy and lost a significant amount of vision in her left eye, she was able to receive treatment before the tumour had a chance to spread.

Whilst tumours are rare, an eye examination can pick up a variety of sight problems as well as symptoms of broader health conditions.

Kelly said: “I am so grateful to Ash for saving my sight and very possibly my life. My experience really goes to show just how important it is to have regular eye checks. I would urge everyone to have regular eye exams and to seek help as soon as they recognise that something might be wrong. Whilst I have unfortunately lost some vision, I’m actually really positive about the outcome – with four young children I dread to think about how my situation could have turned out.”

Ash Shah MCOptom, practice director at Vision Express in Stevenage, commented: “I am very glad that Kelly came in for her eye examination when she did, and that I was able to play a part in helping to save her sight. Her story is important because it goes to show how crucial it is, at any age, to look after your eyes and have regular eye checks with your optometrist. As optometrists, we are able to look at the overall health of a person’s eye. Whilst tumours are rare, an eye examination can pick up a variety of sight problems as well as symptoms of broader health conditions.”

Note to editors

  1. Previously known as ophthalmic opticians, optometrists are trained professionals who examine eyes, test sight, give advice on visual problems, and prescribe and dispense spectacles or contact lenses. They also recommend other treatments or visual aids where appropriate. Optometrists are trained to recognise eye diseases, referring such cases as necessary, and can also use or supply various eye drugs.
  2. Optometrists study at university for at least three years and participate in a full year of training and supervision, called the pre-registration year, before qualifying. Once qualified, they have the opportunity to develop their interests in specialist aspects of practice such as contact lenses, treating eye diseases, low vision, children’s vision and sports vision.
  3. For information and advice about how to look after your eyes visit: www.lookafteryoureyes.org
  4. The letters FCOptom or MCOptom after an optometrist’s name means that he or she is a fellow or member of the College of Optometrists.Membership of the College shows their commitment to the very highest clinical, ethical and professional standards, so look for these letters to see if your optometrist is a member.
  5. Please email Ann-Marie Gannon, PR Manager, for further information and copies of photos: ann-marie.gannon@college-optometrists.org or call 020 7766 4342.

I am so grateful to Ash for saving my sight and very possibly my life. My experience really goes to show just how important it is to have regular eye checks.

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