Early warning signs of cancer spotted in eye exams

11th Oct 2017

A pilot project at South Tees NHS Foundation Trust designed to catch the early symptoms of brain cancers during routine eye check-ups has shown success.

With the support of NHS England, Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, the Trust has shown that allowing optometrists to refer directly to neurology departments could drastically shorten the time between diagnosis and treatment.

Optometrists, who in the UK spend a minimum of 4 years studying eye disorders, can recognise early warning signs of benign and cancerous tumours during everyday eye examinations. The Trust say that referring patients directly to specialists could cut out a visit to a GP, and improve treatment outcomes.

Brain tumours can raise the pressure inside skull and press on the optic nerve, causing swelling of the optic disc known as papilloedema. Optometrists routinely check for papilloedema during an eye test, particularly if the patient presents with headaches and double vision.

The initiative has gathered support from both doctors and optometrists after a patient underwent successful surgery to remove a brain tumour just 8 days after seeing her optometrist.


You can read the full article here, and find out more information on cancer diagnoses in the UK here




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