A grandmother has revealed the "massive trauma" she's battling after learning what she thought was a 'lodged eyelash' was actually a rare form of cancer.
Catherine Ogden, from Chadderton in Oldham, Grater Manchester, had her left eye removed in April after doctors diagnosed her with ocular melanoma, Manchester Evening News reports .
The retired hairdresser said the surgery has changed her life and "massively" impacted her confidence
Earlier this year, Mrs Ogden visited the opticians with an irritated eye.
The 72-year-old grandmother said: "I just thought I had an eyelash in it or a cataract. I didn't think much of it at all at the time."
The optician found a 'freckle-like' spot on her eye and referred her to eye specialists St Paul's Eye Unit at The Royal Liverpool University Hospital.
Within a few short days, Mrs Ogden discovered she had ocular melanoma – a rare form of cancer affecting between 500-600 patients in the UK every year.
In April, doctors told Mrs Ogden that her best course of treatment would be to remove her eye.
She said: "I was told on the Monday that they had a slot on the Tuesday and that was that.
"On Monday it was there, on Tuesday it was gone. It just happened so fast."
Mrs Ogden spent two days in hospital before she was sent home.
The grandmother, who is a breast cancer survivor, said the psychological impact of the surgery was immense.
She said: "When you leave the hospital, they give you pamphlets by the handful.
"This was such a massive trauma. Your eye is there one day, and the next it's not. You feel very lonely afterwards.
"I have thought about if people are out there who are on their own and don't have anybody to help.
"There should be more support and I want to raise awareness of this to get the message out to other people."
The grandmother recovered well and now has a temporary prosthetic eye, with the hopes that she will soon have a permanent one fitted.
She said that she experienced "great care" in hospital, but did profess to feeling lonely.
Although, she was lucky enough to have her husband, Dave looking after her, she said many after not so lucky.
Now, she is looking to share her experience in a bid to help others going through similar experiences.
A spokesperson from The Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust said: "St Paul’s Eye Unit is one of only three centres in England providing ocular oncology services for patients across the country.
"The specialist ocular oncology team offer a range of treatments and surgical procedures for patients, one of which is enucleation (removal of the eye).
"Our ocular oncology team comprises a highly-skilled team who are world renowned for their expertise.
“Following treatment from our specialist ocular oncology team, enucleation patients are discharged with a referral to their referring ophthalmologist, which is often local to where they live, and the discharge plan also copied to the patient’s GP so that care and support can be put into place closer to the patient’s home.
“The standard process is for patients to be reviewed at their local ophthalmic eye unit.
"However we do advise all patients that if they have any concerns or questions they can always contact our specialist team if and when required.”
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