Eye test 'saved young woman's life'

A TEENAGER who went for a simple sight test discovered she had a life-threatening brain tumour.

A TEENAGER who went for a simple sight test discovered she had a life-threatening brain tumour.

Charlotte Poh was a “walking timebomb” before her optometrist discovered the cancerous lump while checking her contact lenses, even thought her despite doctors had not spotted the tumour.

Despite suffering from headaches, doctors had not picked up on the disease but her optician discovered tell-tale signs of cancer.

Miss Poh, now 21, first went for a sight test after she started having trouble seeing the board at school.

They found the teenager had a dull optic nerve and suggested she went to Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford to have it checked out.

Although she was not initially worried, she underwent some eye examinations before the specialists decided to do a brain scan.

Most Read

Miss Poh, of Braintree, said: “Afterwards they asked us to go and wait in the canteen and said someone would come and get me.

“That's when I realised there must be something going on. The consultant came down himself and we went on the long walk to his office. Then he told me.

“I was in complete and utter shock, I lost my breath. I didn't link the fact I had this little problem with my eyes with something so awful.

“The worst case scenario I thought of when I went for my eye test was I might be going blind. Never did I think it would be a brain tumour.”

The tumour was 9cm by 4cm but it was successfully removed about a week after the diagnosis and Miss Poh was transferred to the teenage cancer unit at Middlesex Hospital in London, who she described as “absolutely brilliant”.

She underwent six weeks of chemotherapy, losing her hair in the process and also had radiotherapy.

Afterwards she had to be monitored at three-monthly intervals and even now she has been given the five-year all-clear, she still has check ups every six months.

“All people think about when they have an eye test is whether they will have to wear glasses, but there are other things that can be picked up too. It's just like seeing the doctor,” she said.

Her mother, Gaye Carter, said: “She was a walking timebomb, and she could have had a brain bleed at any time.

“Going for an eye test literally saved her life.”

The opticians revealed their tests had uncovered five other similar brain problems, including hypertension and two other tumours.

Mike Bromidge, store director of Specsavers in Braintreee, said: “We've had five instances of similar head trauma.

“It's never a pleasant experience but the spotting of conditions early can make a huge difference.”

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter