A WOMAN who attended a routine eye test at Specsavers Minehead has said a "heartfelt" thank you to the staff after they discovered that she had a rare form of cancer.

Catherine Simmons, 74, visited the store for a test after she broke her glasses.

As part of the appointment Catherine opted for a scan by the store's OCT machine, which allows opticians to identify any abnormalities. 

Minehead resident Catherine said: "When I went to Specsavers I wasn’t expecting to be referred on for anything like this – but if it had gone unnoticed, I dread to think what would’ve happened.

"People are often quick to complain about the services they receive in life, but they rarely congratulate people when they provide a good service, so I have said a heartfelt thank you to the team in Minehead.

"They saw there was a change in my left eye. It was only small, like a freckle, but they immediately referred me to Musgrove Hospital, and when I saw the doctor he said he was concerned and wanted to refer me on again.

"There are only two hospitals that could do what was needed – in London and in Liverpool.

"I went to Liverpool and they were absolutely amazing. The freckle had grown just a bit in that short time and the doctor confirmed it was cancer, so they lasered it there and then.

"I then had to go back three months later. The cancer hadn’t grown, but they did laser it once more.

"There are no promises in life, but they do think they’ve got it early enough. The doctor at Liverpool said a couple of times how well Specsavers had done to spot it so early."

Catherine urges more people to have regular eye tests, so that conditions can be caught and treated early.

She added: "Many people don’t have an eye test unless they’re having new glasses, but they should have it more regularly.

"The reason I went for my eye test was because I’d broken my glasses. I’d put off and put off having my eyes tested because I was so busy. But if I’d put it off any longer, the consequences don’t bear thinking about."

Paul Bradford, the optometrist director at Specsavers Minehead, said: "Positive outcomes such as Mrs Simmons’ are the highlight of what we do here.

"Her advice about keeping up with routine eye tests is spot on because the OCT test enabled our optometrist to pick up the early signs of her condition and she could then refer Mrs Simmons immediately for treatment at an early stage."