CATS Optometrist saves teenager’s life

Mia Brown
“Thanks for saving my life”

A TEENAGER has told a Middlewich optician ‘thank you for saving my life’.

Mia Brown was suffering from a ruptured cyst on her brain that was putting pressure on her optic nerve.

If it was left untreated it could have caused blindness or even brain damage.

Mia, 13, faced daily headaches and said she was told by her doctor just to go to bed earlier, drink plenty of water and keep off the laptop.

But the symptoms persisted weeks later.

Mia said: “My eyes went all weird and I threw up. They felt tight and strained when I tried to open them.”

That week she had a routine appointment at Cats Opticians in Wheelock Street which led to emergency surgery at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

Optometrist Cathy Tripp said: “When I examined Mia and asked her about her headaches she said it was like being hit with a hammer so that sent alarm bells ringing.”

Cathy noticed swelling on Mia’s optic nerve and she was immediately sent to Leighton Hospital.

Mia’s mum Emma added: “The consultant had taken me to one side and told me the thing they would be looking for would be a brain tumour. That was distressing.”

Doctors then identified that Mia had an ‘arachnoid cyst’ which was about the size of a golf ball that had burst and had shifted her brain by about 1cm.

“On the scan it was like I had three eyes,” said Mia.

A hole had to be drilled in her skull and then her brain membrane was cut so the fluid could be removed.

Mum-of-three Emma added: “It was frightening. I didn’t expect to go from standing in an opticians to waiting for surgery for my daughter. It happened so fast.

“But Mia was so brave and happy throughout. She would be woken up in the middle of the night for observations and always thank the nurses.”

Cathy said: “If the pressure from the ruptured cyst continued she could have gone blind and had serious brain damage.”

Now Mia is back to full health but must regularly return to hospital for check-ups. Her next scan is at Alder Hey on October 18.

She added: “I want to say to Cathy thank you for saving my life. Everyone should get their eyes checked.”