A TUMOUR the size of a golf ball was discovered behind the eyes of a schoolboy during a trip to an opticians.

Winston French, now nine, had to undergo complex surgery and intense chemotherapy for a year-and-a-half to remove the cancer but has made a full recovery.

He is sharing his story during National Eye Health Week to ensure other children go for regular eye tests.

Winston was just eight when his mum, Felicity French, took him to Specsavers in Didcot in November 2016 after he had been getting headaches and vomiting for several weeks.

In what was his first ever eye test, he was assessed by optometrist Rukhsana Bi.

She said: “When I examined the back of Winston’s eye I could see that an important feature at the back of the eye, the optic nerve head, was swollen.

“This, coupled with his symptoms, meant I was sure it needed further investigation. Without panicking Mrs French, I explained that he needed to go to hospital.”

Winston was seen in the critical assessment unit at the John Radcliffe Hospital where he had some further tests, including MRI and CT scans.

These confirmed that he had a tumour behind his eye and between the two hemispheres of the brain which would require an operation to remove it.

Mrs French said: “After the surgery, which removed 95 per cent of the tumour, Winston was in hospital for eight days.

“He then had to have courses of radio- and chemotherapy to make sure all of the tumour had gone.

“The radio therapy was every day for six weeks followed by eight rounds of chemo in six-week cycles, which equated to approximating a year and a half of treatments in total.

“He was absolutely brilliant throughout, never complaining and just getting on with it.”

The treatment was a success and Winston is now back at Hagbourne CofE School.

Mrs French added: “I’m so grateful to Specsavers for picking up the problem.

“I’d always just thought eye tests were about how well you can see, I didn’t realise they could do so much more than that.

“Rukhsana was brilliant, as although I could tell something wasn’t right, she was really calm and reassuring.”

During this week, Specsavers will be promoting the importance of having regular eye tests to pick up on potential warning signs.

Ms Bi said: “We recommend children should have a sight test from the age of three and then every two years afterwards.

“If you notice any changes in your vision though, you could make an appointment immediately.”

For more advice and support see visionmatters.org.uk