World Cancer Day, 4 February: the role of eyecare in screening

World Cancer Day takes place on the 4 February 2018, uniting the world in the fight against cancer. The aim of the day is to raise awareness and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals to take action. With routine eyecare being able to help with the early detection of various cancers, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare believes the employer too has an important role to play.

Routine eye tests can detect signs of many conditions, including some cancers, diabetes and heart disease. Many diseases can often begin without obvious symptoms, yet they may be detected by a simple and non-invasive eye test. The early detection of a cancer or other serious illness could be, quite literally, life-saving.

Dr Nigel Best, clinical expert at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare, explains:

‘Ocular melanoma, a cancer that can develop in the pigmentation cells in the eye, can be detected through an eye examination, as can some skin cancers. Changes in the retina may indicate leukaemia, and changes to the field of vision can signal the possibility of a brain tumour. A change in the structure of the eye may be an indicator of an underlying problem, and the optometrist would refer the patient to a specialist.’

The vast majority of employees are entitled to eyecare provided by the company. This includes all ‘screen users’ and those who drive in the course of their work. On World Cancer Day, Specsavers Corporate Eyecare is calling for employers to review their eyecare policy and, where possible, to include all employees in a blanket scheme which are available at low cost.

Currently, 8.8 million people die from cancer each year and 4 million people die prematurely, between the ages of 30 and 69, so any screening that’s offered in the workplace can be a great support in the fight against cancer.

‘World Cancer Day is all about taking action,’ said Jim Lythgow, director of strategic alliances at Specsavers Corporate Eyecare. ‘Employers are in a good position to implement a policy that could have a very real effect on the quality of people’s lives. We want to do our bit too and we are here to provide guidance and support to any employer interested in instigating or enhancing eyecare provision.’

For more information on World Cancer Day, visit For more information on eyecare in the workplace, visit