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Don’t overlook your eye test urges Harwich pensioner

Post on 22nd September 2023

A Harwich pensioner is on a mission to make sure local people ‘get seen’ and go for regular eye tests as they could be a life saver.

Mrs Patricia Free, 85, went to Scrivens Opticians & Hearing Care, on High Street, as she wasn’t happy with her existing optician – but little did she know the visit saved her so much more than the cost of new prescription glasses!

For eagle-eyed optician, Maria, spotted a lesion on Mrs Free’s eyelid, which raised alarm bells. Having worked in a hospital eye clinic before joining Scrivens three years ago, Maria was quickly able to see the classic symptoms of skin cancer (basal cell carcinoma).

She explained: “When I questioned Mrs Free, she had been told by a pharmacist that it was a rash due to not drying her face properly. I could tell right away this was far more sinister
and needed urgent attention. I immediately referred her to the hospital where she received the diagnosis. The good news is, of all the cancers this is the least threatening as it only
spreads locally.”

Mrs Free – who was successfully treated for cervical cancer five years ago – is now due to have surgery on her eyelid next month. And despite being nervous, she is very pleased that
the cancer was detected before it impacted her vision.

She said: “I was really surprised when Maria asked me about my lesion as I hadn’t mentioned it and had tried to cover it up with make-up. I am so grateful for everything that
Scrivens Opticians has done for me and would urge anyone to make sure they have regular eye tests – they can reveal so much more about your health than you think.”

Just like Mrs Free, Scrivens is also celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, so the branch team was delighted to surprise her with a bouquet of flowers to mark each other’s milestone.

“I was very surprised to have been presented with such a lovely bouquet – they really brightened up my day after what has been a challenging time,” added Mrs Free.

Scrivens recommends that adults should get their eyes tested every two years, even if they don’t need glasses, and over 70s and children under 16 should have their eyes tested