A fourteen-year-old girl and her family from Hamilton, Scotland have praised their optometrist – who detected signs of a tumour behind her optic nerve, ultimately saving her sight.
As the UK marks National Eye Health Week, Beth’s family shared their story to remind others of the importance of routine eye examinations.
The first signs of the tumour were discovered in 2017 at a routine eye test when Beth McKendrick was 11. She has since spent years undergoing treatment and chemotherapy – and now has finally had the good news that the treatment has been successful.
Emma Foster, store director at Specsavers Hamilton, says: “We’re telling Beth’s story, as although it is rare, it is an example of how vital it is to go for a regular eye tests – as they can detect signs of health conditions like Beth’s tumour”.
Mum Claire said: “Beth complained about a headache that was growing more painful, and because she has worn glasses since she was two, we thought she might need her prescription updated.
“We went to our usual Specsavers and I realised we were dealing with something more serious when the optometrist asked Beth to wait outside the test room, while he spoke to me.
“He showed me a picture showing a change behind Beth’s right eye. The whole thing was a complete shock to me”.
The discovery meant a drastic change of plans for Beth, who had planned a sleepover with friends that evening. Instead she was referred to Hairmyres Hospital as a medical emergency. The following day, Beth was called to Wishaw General Hospital where an MRI scan confirmed her optometrist’s suspicions – a tumour was resting on the optic nerve behind her eye.
Through all of 2018 Beth had a regular series of treatments at Glasgow Children’s Hospital including a biopsy on the tumour, a gradual draining procedure and weekly chemotherapy sessions to help prevent any growth or irreparable damage to her eyesight. Beth and her family said they were very relieved to learn the tumour was benign and that the chemotherapy had been a success.
Claire added: “Beth has MRI scans every three months to monitor her eye and these will continue for the rest of her life – but it we hadn’t visited Specsavers that day, who knows what the story would have been. “The Specsavers team were incredibly welcoming, calming and professional on the day and thanks to their quick referral, we were able to get Beth the medical attention needed in time.”
Emma Foster says: “We’re delighted and relieved to hear that Beth is much better. She’s a wonderful girl and is always so friendly and talkative whenever she comes to see us in our store.”
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