'I lost my eye to skin cancer because cheap holiday sunglasses gave me no protection'

A mum lost her right eye to skin cancer because she wore cheap sunglasses that gave her no protection, writes Pamela Owen in the Sunday People.


Deborah Kane, 44, had the organ removed in a life-saving op to stop the disease spreading to her brain. And Deborah, told by her consultant that using budget shades on holidays led to her contracting the cancer, warned the public to avoid them.

She said: “Buying cheap sunglasses cost me my eye. I want others to know the dangers.”

Her warning comes as tests showed cut-price pairs often fail to screen out damaging ultraviolet rays, leading to a range of eye complaints. Deborah, mother to Annabel, 14, and eight-year-old Charlie, said her problems began when she was 24.

A trip to her GP confirmed that a mole on her back was cancerous and it was immediately removed. But in December 2011, teaching assistant Deborah started to suffer with blurred vision and was ­eventually diagnosed with a malignant melanoma ­behind her right eye.

Deborah said: “My mind immediately went back to a teenage holiday in Lanzarote when I had been badly sunburned. “I had blistered very badly on my neck – which was exactly the same place where I’d first had skin cancer. “I had scrimped on sunglasses, too. I bought cheap ones because they were trendy, but they didn’t protect my eyes at all. “I used to buy lots of them every time I went on holiday because they only cost a couple of Euros. “I binned them all as soon as I was diagnosed with cancer.”

She went on: “My consultant confirmed that the sun was definitely the cause and that the holiday was likely the starting point for cancer. “I was so angry, so frustrated with myself. But it was too late for that.”

Deborah, who now wears an eyepatch, then had months of radiotherapy, and a year later had recovered enough to return to work.

She added: “Having one eye doesn’t stop me at all and I’ve learned to be comfortable with the way I look.

“I drive a car and do everything like a normal mum. The way I see it, losing my eye saved my life.”

Iain Mack