Eye test found cancer

NICOLE MATHEWSON
Last updated 05:00 18/08/2012
  	 Mike King
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

TAKING THE TEST: King undergoes an eye exam with optometrist Meyrick Clayden.

Mike King
CHECK, MATES: Christchurch man Mike King is urging other tradesmen to have their eyes checked after an eye exam revealed he had melanoma.

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Sixty-year-old Christchurch man Mike King never expected to have his eye removed for what he thought was just a scratch.

About six months ago, a piece of a diamond blade broke while King, a tradesman, was working and caught his left eye.

He thought it had scratched his eye, but did not think much else of it until three months later when he was working on a fence for Andy Gray, the owner of Specsavers' Papanui store.

Gray encouraged King to get checked by an optometrist, who noticed a growth on the eye. He was referred to Christchurch Hospital and tests soon revealed he had melanoma.

It was not known how long King had the melanoma for, but he was told he was "very lucky" the cancer had not spread to other parts of his body. "It was the most invasive form of melanoma you can get; it was taking up a third of my eye."

The entire eye had to be removed, but King said that did not bother him.

"I'm a pretty positive person. I thought that was the only way to get around [the cancer]."

He went back to work a week after the surgery, but found he had to "learn everything again" because his depth perception had been affected.

He was waiting for an artificial eye to be custom-made for him and was wearing a "pirate" patch in the meantime.

He thought the melanoma was probably caused by a "lifetime" of working outdoors in the sun, often experiencing sun glare from working with white Oamaru stone.

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- The Press

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