that's life (Australia)

A scary sight

Mary was shocked at her diagnosis Mary Hearn, 62, Gold Coast, Qld


Visiting my family in Ireland about 10 years ago, I learnt my father’s mum had suffered from glaucoma and was completely blind by the time she passed.

I’d never had problems with my eyesight, but knowing glaucoma can be hereditary, I booked a test as soon as I was back.

From then, I had a check-up at my local Specsavers every year, and each time, I had no issues – until 2018.

‘Mary, our scans have detected an unusual lump inside your left eye,’ Simon Kelly, my optometris­t, said.

‘But I have no problems with my vision,’ I said.

Simon said there’d been nothing to see until he looked at the retinal imagery, where a sizeable lump could be seen growing next to my optic nerve. He said it could be a few things, even a melanoma.

I was shocked. Wasn’t melanoma on your skin?

I travelled to Brisbane to see ophthalmol­ogist Dr Bill Glasson for a biopsy and PET-CT scan.

After an anxious wait, the results came in.

‘It’s good you came in early, said Dr Glasson.

‘We’ve found melanoma cells in your eye but thankfully they aren’t anywhere else in your body. I’m confident we can effectivel­y treat it with laser therapy.’

I breathed a sigh of relief.

While my cancer cells were easily treated, if I’d left it too long, who knows what could have happened.

While I lost vision from the lower left quarter of my eye, it’s a small price to pay for my life.

I’m so lucky I was able to catch the melanoma early before it spread to other parts of my body, or I had to have my eye removed.

Don’t wait until something goes wrong – book an eye test, and make sure you protect your eyes in the sun, like you do your skin.

‘We’ve found melanoma cells in your eye’

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