Richard Brannan's Story | Tesco Opticians
  • Richard Brannan's Story

    Richard Brannan family resized

    Father of two's tumour discovery at Tesco Opticians 

    Following a series of persistent headaches, self-proclaimed hypochondriac Richard Brannan was concerned about his health and initially sought the advice of his GP in September 2015. He was prescribed medication for migraines and thought it may be a result of many sleepless nights, having two young children. However, when the prescription didn’t seem to be working, he returned to the doctor, who suggested he get an eye test for further examination, and to hopefully put his mind at rest.

    Richard, 33, visited a well-known high street optician and the test came back clear; in fact, he supposedly had 20/20 vision. However, the headaches continued and in January 2016 he decided to seek a second opinion. 

    Richard Brannan daughter

    The husband and father of two visited his local Tesco Opticians branch in Edinburgh and the optometrist noticed a 20 per cent reduction in his peripheral vision as well as an irregular pulse in his eye. Due to the combination of these symptoms, as well as the additional complaint of unrelenting headaches, they decided to refer him for further tests.

    Richard was referred to the Edinburgh Western General hospital and, in June this year, was diagnosed with a rare type of brain tumour, craniopharyngioma, which can cause blackouts and seizures if not treated.

    Richard said: “Although I was fairly convinced that there was something seriously wrong with me, it was still a shock when I found out that I had a brain tumour. At the beginning of my appointment, the consultant assured me that I probably had little to worry about. However, after having an MRI scan and my consultant returned with the results, I could sense there was a change in his demeanour. I was told that it’s something that I have had all my life and is a result of part of the pituitary gland breaking off while I was just an embryo.

    “It’s a slow-growing tumour, which can affect your eyesight and hormone levels, and often goes undetected until people start suffering serious symptoms like blackouts and seizures. Luckily, it hasn’t got to that stage for me! It is, however, pressing on my optic nerve, which is what was causing the severe headaches and visual problems including photophobia, a sensitivity to light.

    “Since finding out about the tumour, I’ve had multiple tests and appointments and was relieved to find out that it’s benign. However, without treatment it would continue to grow and cause further problems, so I’m scheduled to start a treatment plan from October 2016. The first step is likely to be brain surgery, to remove as much of the tumour as possible, followed by radiotherapy. Whilst it’s all very daunting, the prognosis is optimistic so I’m keen to start my treatment and get fit and healthy again.

    “I’m eternally grateful to the optometrist and Tesco Opticians for the part they played in my diagnosis. I had no idea that eye tests could detect such conditions. In the past, I’ve gone five or six years without having an eye examination, so I’ll certainly make sure that my girls have regular eyes tests and that I keep up to date. It’s made me realise that you really can’t take your health for granted!”

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