A SIMPLE eye test saved the life of a young Grantham man, who had no idea he had a brain tumour which would kill him within six years.
When Chris Brown visited Specsavers in Grantham in June, he could not imagine the tests’ diagnosis of an extremely rare condition and brain surgery to come.
He owes his life to several people, starting with the friend who caused dust to affect his sight in the first place, while they were working on a building site.
Had the accident not occurred, brick-layer Chris would not have visited the opticians.
Chris, of Barrowby Gate, Grantham, said: “It’s a miracle really. I’m so grateful to so many people for saving my life.”
Chris was not aware he was ill until his eye test with optometrist Stuart Rusk, who was concerned about the sudden change in his vision and referred him to a specialist at Grantham Hospital.
Tests revealed he has a condition called acromegaly. His body produces too much growth hormone, which had caused his feet to grow from size 11 to 13-and-a-half in just two years, and his hands to balloon. His palms had been constantly sweating and his forehead had protuded.
A scan showed a ping pong-sized tumour had grown on his pituitary gland, which lies at the base of the brain and produces the growth hormone.
The condition is so rare, particularly in someone as young as Chris, that you have more chance of winning the lottery than suffering from it.
In August, Chris underwent a six-and-a-half hour operation to remove the tumour at Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.
He said: “It was terrifying before the op, I thought it might be the last time I saw my family. It puts the fear of God into you. It’s something I wouldn’t wish on anybody else.”
This week, he received a letter telling him the tumour has been fully removed.
Chris said: “The operation has changed my life. I’m leading a normal life now.
“If anyone has any problems with their vision get it checked out because you never know what could be around the corner.”
Specsavers director Bijal Ladva said not a week goes by that opticians at Specsavers don’t test someone with a sight-threatening condition.
He added: “Discovering a condition as serious as Chris’s doesn’t happen very often, so people shouldn’t panic.
“On the other hand, there are lots of other eye conditions that if we pick up early enough can save someone’s sight. These conditions might not be life-threatening but they are sight-threatening.
“Don’t underestimate how important a sight test is as a health check.”