The luckiest teenager in Dagenham

A CHANCE eye test for a Dagenham teenager revealed a massive brain tumour that could have left her blind. The benign growth was spotted by a vigilant optician when Kelly Forward accompanied her young sister for an eye test in Dagenham and decided to have

A CHANCE eye test for a Dagenham teenager revealed a massive brain tumour that could have left her blind.

The benign growth was spotted by a vigilant optician when Kelly Forward accompanied her young sister for an eye test in Dagenham and decided to have one as well.

Kelly admits she has not had her eyes tested for years, and went with Kaitlin, 6, to Specsavers in Heathway.

The 19-year-old former Sydney Russell pupil was shocked when the optometrist found signs of a brain tumour putting pressure on her optic nerves.


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Kelly said: "I hadn't had an eye test for a long time, almost 11 years I think.

"I only went because my sister, who wears glasses, was due a check-up.

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"It's scary to think that if I hadn't made the decision to go with her I never would have known about my condition."

The tumour on Kelly's brain is inoperable due to its location but thanks to the sharp eyes of optometrist, Kirti Shah, it was found in time.

Surgeons were able to drain fluid from the tumour and relieve the pressure on Kelly's optic nerves.

If she had gone undiagnosed she could have been left partially sighted, brain damaged or even blind.

Ms Shah, of Specsavers, Dagenham, said: "I noticed that both of Kelly's optic nerves were swollen, which can be a sign of pressure on the brain so I immediately referred her to hospital."

After several tests and brain scans at Queen's Hospital, Romford, it was revealed Kelly had a sight-threatening brain tumour.

She was probably suffering from it for years and never realised.

Kelly, who studies childcare at Havering College, will now have to return to hospital for regular scans.

She said: "I'm so glad that I went to Specsavers.

"I've been told that had I left it much longer the pressure on my optic nerves would have left my eyesight with more serious permanent damage.

"I should never have left it so long to have an eye test, especially as it is suspected that my tumour may have developed when I was a lot younger.

"It's scary to think it's been there all this time and I didn't know anything about it."

Eye experts at Specsavers strongly recommend an eye exam every two years.

Their spokeswoman said: "Free eye tests are available for people over 40 years with a history of glaucoma, individuals over 60, children up to the age of 16 and students in full-time education.

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