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​Free eye tests being offered to help raise money for children with cancer

Published on 06/05/16 08:54:am

An Essex optician is offering a month of free eye tests as part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of their importance.

Wardale Williams in Halstead is offering the free eye tests throughout May as part of the Keira Campaign, which was launched last year. The optician teamed up with the family of teenager Keira Dixon to launch the campaign aimed at raising awareness of the importance of having regular eye tests. The campaign is also raising funds for the children’s cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Keira, 18, of Sible Hedingham, was diagnosed with a brain tumour in February 2014 after optometrist Greg Hybel spotted worrying signs when carrying out an eye examination at the Halstead practice. Greg immediately referred Keira to hospital and the next day she was transferred to the intensive care ward at Great Ormond Street Hospital and within five days underwent life-saving surgery.

Since her lifesaving treatment Keira has undergone more than 30 sessions of radiotherapy, lengthy periods of steroid treatment and has MRI scans at Addenbrookes’ Hospital in Cambridge every three months.

Practice manager Mark Thompson, said: “As responsible healthcare providers it is our duty to keep on reminding people of the importance of having regular eye tests. Eye tests do not just show us about the eye, they are also a good indicator of general health. Signs of ill health can be detected during an eye test and there are many documented cases of this. In extreme cases eye tests can save lives and what happened with Keira is just one example of this.

“We hope by offering people free eye tests we will be able to educate and advise more people on the importance of having regular eye tests. All people have to do to get a test is to make a donation of their choice to the campaign. All donations will go to CLIC Sargent.”

The eye tests can be booked by going into the Halstead practice on the High Street or people can telephone 01787 472209 to book an appointment.

Note to editors:

  • Every day 10 children and young people are told they have cancer, and diagnosis usually comes as a shock. Treatment normally starts straightaway and can last up to three years.
  • Although survival rates are over 70%, cancer remains the single largest cause of death from disease in children in the UK.
  • CLIC Sargent is the UK’s leading cancer charity for children and young people. It provides clinical, practical and emotional support for young cancer

Members of the media more information should in the first instance contact Patrick Lowman on 07792 428555 or by email at