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Doctors dismissed my headaches but optician found I had a deadly brain tumour

A young mum's life was saved when a simple trip to her opticians uncovered a brain tumour.

Thanks to the quick actions of an optician, doctors discovered that Siobhan Beahan had a brain tumour and were able to act immediately to remove it.

Siobhan, from Sallins, Kildare, said that she had dismissed recurring pressure headaches, sinus pains and dizziness as a simple illness.

She was given antibiotics from doctors who said that she may have had a condition known as blue ear drum.

But it wasn't until she visited Specsavers opticians in Newbridge that an abnormality was discovered with a specialised fundus camera.


Her optician instantly referred her to her GP and within hours she was admitted to Beaumont Hospital.

The stay-at-home mum was operated on 13 days after her first appointment in Specsavers.

"Once I got into hospital, I thought I was toast," she said.

"This lovely doctor came into my room with a big smile on his face. He told me that I had a brain tumour but that they were going to operate.

"I burst into tears. But he said, 'I have to tell people that they have a brain tumour every day of the week but that it's inoperable. We can remove this tumour.'"

The procedure was a complete success and Siobhan was discharged within three weeks to her husband and children Danielle (7), Amy (5) and Darragh (2), who was just 10 months at the time of the operation

The mum-of-three said the first signs that something were wrong came in the form of a "whooshing" sound in her ear, which was actually brain fluid rushing around her head.

"I had just had a baby and when I bent down to pick him up I would get a flood of heaviness on the bridge of my nose," she added.

"I'd sit down for a minute, close my eyes and it'd pass."

But it wasn't until she visited Specsavers opticians in Newbridge that the abnormality was discovered.

"As part of the eye exam, they take a photo of the back of your eye," Siobhan explained. "He noticed a swelling at the back of my eye.

"He asked me if I get headaches and I knew that there was something wrong," she added.

Aengus Morrin, who undertook the eye examination, used a specialised biomicroscope with an attached digital camera to photograph the retina. Upon closer examination of Mrs Beahan's eyes, he noticed swelling of the nerves at the back of the eyes.

"I became concerned that there could be a serious underlying health condition," he said. "Time is always of the essence when detecting abnormalities so I immediately referred Mrs Beahan."

"I've been fine ever since -- I had my last check up in July and it's all clear," she said.

"Actually my eyesight has improved since then."

And Siobhan paid tribute to the quick thinking of the staff at the opticians as well as employees in the health system.

"I've always gone to Specsavers because it's cheap but obviously their equipment is not cheap or below standard at all," she said.

"I am terrible for going to the doctor -- I wouldn't have gone back to the doctor if it wasn't for the eye test."