WHEN arriving at his optician for a routine eye exam, Thomas Vasvary expected to be leaving with a new pair of glasses.
But it was to lead to his life turning upside-down, after his optometrist became concerned by irregularities in his peripheral vision.
After referring him to specialists at the Princess Alexandra Eye Pavilion, Thomas, 47, was told there was a tumour in his optic nerve and underwent daily radiotherapy for more than a month.
The brain tumour, which Thomas was told could have robbed him of his sight, has responded well to treatment and he today spoke of his gratitude to staff at the Leith branch of Specsavers.
He also called for the type of test which detected the tumour to be used more widely, after he said he was previously not given it during an eye exams.
Thomas, who is originally from Brazil and now lives in Clermiston with his wife, Denilse, and their two-year-old son, said: “I had no idea anything was wrong. I thought I might have to change my glasses but I thought everything was good.
“Then they asked me to go for a scan and it showed a tumour around my optic nerve. They said that if I hadn’t had the treatment, I probably would have lost my vision in a about a year, maximum. But if it stopped growing I could have a normal life.
“I had the treatment for 40 days, and until now nothing has changed. The doctors said they can’t say anything definitive, but that it’s good news.”
Treatment was so successful Thomas was told last week his sight had improved. He attends regular appointments with his oncologist and optician.
He is back working, as a cleaner at St George’s School for Girls, and studying English at Edinburgh College. I’m taking care more of what I eat and what I do,” he added. “For my normal life it hasn’t changed anything, but I think about the good things more.
“I’m so happy I went for the test and I’m thankful to the opticians. I’ve been to opticians before and they didn’t have this kind of test, but I think it’s very important.”
The irregularities were detected by a visual field test, performed by optometrist Ciara Nixon, who has worked for Specsavers for two years.Ciara, 24, said it was the first time she had uncovered a brain tumour, adding: “Thomas came in routinely for an eye test, it was his two year check up. I did the eye test and everything looked nice and healthy and his vision wasn’t affected.
“It was only when we did the visual field test to check his peripheral vision that something showed up, so I referred him. It is satisfying to know I helped him.
“An eye test isn’t just about your vision, it’s about general health as well.”