By Aliki Kraterou
A little girl owes her life to Specsavers – after the optometrist spotted a golf ball-sized brain tumour that was causing problems with her vision
Roxanne Knight, seven, from Wickersley, Rotherham, had been suffering from headaches since December and after several visits to the hospital and A&E and prescribed medication, she was still in pain every day.
In April, her mum, Irene Knight,45, a support worker, took her to a Specsavers to get her eyesight checked when optometrist Saj Hussain noticed the large tumour at the back of Roxanne’s head.
Roxanne was quickly referred to hospital, where she underwent a six-hour surgery to remove the mass – she is now perfectly fine and relieved from the headaches.
Her parents Irene, and Steve, 62 couldn’t be happier and praise Saj who spotted the tumour in the first place.
Irene who is also mum to Ayden, 9, said: “She had really strong headaches, they would last for quite a long period of time.
“It became an everyday thing, the headaches became more frequent, the doctors gave us a headache diary she had to take to school.
“It affected every aspect of her life, she couldn’t sleep or eat properly- it was a very strange pattern and we couldn’t follow up.
“When she developed a vain on the side of her head , I knew it wasn’t normal.
“The doctors told me it was a migraine but I didn’t think so- that’s when it came to me to get her eyes tested.
“There was no way I was going to sit at home and wait for the tablets to work.
“I booked an appointment at Specsavers, luckily they were able to see her straight away, only to find out it wasn’t even a migraine.
“I thought maybe they’d say she needed really thick glasses — I certainly didn’t expect what they did tell me,”
“He said they would see something like this once every ten or 15 years and she needed to be referred straight away.
“The doctors explained it had been pushing to the front and causing the headaches.
“If the pressure had been in a different direction it could have affected her speech, her heart or her spinal cord.”
Roxanne, a keen swimmer and YouTuber, said: “It felt like someone was punching me in the head. I just wanted something to make it go away.”
She underwent a surgery in May to get the tumour removed and is now back to ‘her usual self’.
Irene and Steve say they ‘can’t thank Saj enough and are relieved their daughter is healthy.
Irene said she called Saj to thank him and Roxanne insisted on writing him a card.
She added: “I was in a very big shock, I didn’t know what to do , knowing your child is going to have such a serious surgery.
“Each time she had a headache, she was panicking and she was crying, she wouldn’t sleep.
“She’s brilliant now, she is well, she hasn’t had any headaches at all and she’s sleeping well and her eyes are perfect.
“It was massive, it was so scary to think this massive thing was in my child’s head.
“It’s so scary to think what could have happened if Saj hadn’t seen it.
“He treated me like his own family, he was just the hero of the day.
“I can’t thank that man enough.
“Roxanne asked me ‘mum am I ok to think something bad would have happened if the optician hadn’t seen this?’
“I had to be honest with her- she really insisted on writing a card for him and buying him some chocolates. “
Saj Hussain, who detected the tumour, pointed out how important regular eye tests are.
He added: “It was evident that Roxanne’s case was extremely serious and the family were right in thinking that something was wrong with her.
“It’s testament to the rigour of our training that it helps us identify issues, and the quality of equipment which let us identify problems in more detail than ever before.
“We’re just delighted that we managed to spot this issue for Roxanne early and that she’s had a happy ending.”