Gloucestershire web developer Luke Williams was recently invited into his local optician to help the team to celebrate its relaunch – two years after a routine eye test there resulted in life-saving surgery to remove a brain tumour.
In July 2015, Luke visited the Vision Express Gloucester store for an eye test after being encouraged to do so by his boss at digital agency, iconnet.
“I’d been experiencing squinting and migraines so my boss urged me to get my eyes tested,” Luke explained.
Despite no obviously concerning symptoms such as blurred vision, the optometrist at the Eastgate Shopping Centre optician made an immediate referral, after quickly spotting signs of a severe neurological condition.
“This led to an MRI scan at the Cobalt Imaging Centre in Cheltenham in September 2015,” continued Luke. “After being told I’d have to wait a week for results, I was surprised when my GP called the next day after seeing something unexpected. I hoped it was a relatively minor vascular lesion, which wouldn’t need major surgery.”
A CT scan followed, which shockingly revealed a tumour the size of a cricket ball. Luke was immediately referred to Bristol’s Southmead Hospital in November where he was operated on the following day.
Luke added: “The doctors weren’t completely sure what they’d removed and replaced with 38 stiches, it was a bit of a mystery at first but was later diagnosed as a calcified low-grade glioma.”
Two weeks later, Luke was discharged and he returned to his home in Woodmancote to begin his long road to recovery.
Now aged 28, Luke is positive about the future after his latest check-up at Southmead Hospital went well. He said: “The doctors said they were happy with my progress and I’ll return for another check-up in a year’s time.”
In 2016, as a sign of support for the staff at Southmead Hospital, Luke and some of his iconnet colleagues climbed the highest mountain in Wales, Snowdon (Yr Wyddfa), and raised £3,500 for the hospital’s charity.
Luke has also helped to raise awareness of the importance of eye tests in detecting potentially life-altering conditions after being invited back to the Gloucester Vision Express store to launch its newly refurbished premises.
As guest of honour, Luke performed a ribbon cutting, officially declaring the store open. He added: “I’m here today thanks to the alert optometrist who first spotted there was a problem. I am so grateful to the store, and my boss for encouraging me to go for the eye test.
“It was great to see the team again at the relaunch, and to see the upgraded facilities and state-of-the-art equipment – you can definitely notice the change and it’s so positive to know that the store is continuing to deliver a thorough vision care service to the local community.”
He was welcomed into the new-look optician, which has been trading from its location in Eastgate Shopping Centre for 22 years, by store director Adrian Lewis and the rest of the store team, which has almost 100 years’ combined optical experience with the national optical retailer.
Adrian said: “Many people don’t realise that such serious conditions can be picked up during an eye test so our relaunch event was a fantastic opportunity to welcome Luke into the store to demonstrate the importance of regular eye tests, while helping us to celebrate.
“Our newly refurbished store will allow us to continue providing current and new customers with the thorough and personal service Vision Express prides itself on.”
Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College of Optometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test at the Gloucester store, call 01452 421122, visit Eastgate Shopping Centre, 24, 5 Bell Lane, Gloucester GL1 1XH or make an online enquiry at: www.visionexpress.com/book-eye-test/
About Vision Express
Vision Express is one of the largest optical retailers in the UK and part of GrandVision,the global leader in optical retail operating in more than 40 countries, spanning over 6,500 stores and online.
With almost 400 stores nationwide, Vision Express first opened its doors in Newcastle in 1988. Built on a passion for the profession, it has gone from strength to strength, driven by a commitment to unparalleled customer service and providing the best individual optical care, the right product and great value. Customers can select from a vast range of genuine designer brands and the latest technology lenses, through to complete glasses from £39.
With around 4,500 employees, Vision Express makes a significant difference to the communities it operates within, and the organisations it chooses to support. As part of its commitment to Vision. Taken Seriously, and as a responsible and caring retailer, Vision Express is proud to partner with a range of healthcare charities, which have touched the lives of customers and teams. These companies provide vital support to people affected by vision-related conditions. They are part of the Vision Express Charity Project and include:
- Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT)
- International Glaucoma Association
- Macular Society
- Stroke Association
- Temple Street University Hospital