“It saved his life.” These are the poignant words of the grandparents of a young boy whose optometrist detected a potentially life-threatening condition during a routine sight test. They were said with confidence and emotion as their grandson’s story was shared with the 100-plus audience at an awards ceremony last night.
Earlier this year, eight-year-old Kian Priest and his parents visited the opticians for a routine eye test. After his mum, dad and sister each had their sight tested, finally it was Kian’s turn. During the appointment, the optometrist discovered that Kian’s optic nerve was swollen and his optic discs were blurred. An emergency referral was made and on further investigation at the hospital, an MRI scan detected two tumours. A life-saving operation to remove them swiftly followed.
Addressing the audience at this year’s Specsavers Spectacle Wearer of the Year (SWOTY) Awards, Kian’s grandparents stressed that if the eight-year-old had not gone for a sight test prior to the new school term, the life-threatening tumours could have gone undetected.
And while I am sure that practitioners will be able to recall stories similar to Kian’s, when they or their clinical colleagues have detected something that requires further investigation, this story (like others) highlights the important role that optometrists play and the importance of regular sight tests.
Recognising and celebrating the achievements of individuals and groups within the profession who go above and beyond the call of duty is the AOP Awards. Whilst the finalists have been selected, voting is now open across 11 categories, including Optometrist of the Year, Contact Lens Practitioner of the Year and Practice of the Year.
For more information on this year’s finalists, visit the AOP website. Don’t forget to cast your vote.
Image credit: Getty