A Hartlepool mum was warned to lose weight or risk losing her sight after doctors found swelling behind her left eye.
Helen Moss, 27, was given the devastating prognosis aged just 23 after a routine check-up at Specsavers led to a referral to Sunderland Eye Infirmary.
Weighing almost 20 stone and with a dress size of 22, Helen, from Owton Manor, said although she had never been slim, her weight had crept up over the years.
The 5ft 5in-tall mum of two said: “I had a general eye appointment with the opticians in Hartlepool around three years ago and they spotted that my optic nerve was swollen.
“They sent me through to Sunderland Eye Infirmary, which kept me in for three days for tests.
“I ended up having a lumbar puncture due to fluid not getting through the spine which had led to the swelling, and doctors put it down to my weight.
“I was told if I don’t lose weight, or if I put more on, it could cause me to lose my sight.”
Helen, who is mum to daughter Aimee Meggison, five, and step-mum to Ellie Meggison, nine, said the scary prospect led her to take control of her weight.
She joined Slimming World under consultant Gaynor Briscoe at Owton Manor Baptist Church in Hartlepool.
“My family agreed with me that I had to get rid of the weight, so I joined Slimming World in April 2014 and I still attend meetings on a Thursday morning.
“Within 20 months I had lost 6st 1lb and weighed 13st 9lb.
“I am now a dress size 12 to 14 and I am over the moon. I really feel the difference.”
Helen, who is engaged to finance Anthony Meggison, 28, said opticians now say her eye is less swollen as a result of her weight loss.
The Morrisons checkout operator said the weight crept up after her busy schedule caused her to skip breakfast and lunch.
“I would rely on convenience food and have takeaways every other night such as pizza and Chinese food.
“I would have frozen meals such as chips and pizza and would be grazing all the time on crisps, chocolate and biscuits.
“Now I have plenty of salads and fruit and vegetables, but still have the occasional treat.
“For breakfast I would have scrambled eggs and beans with tomatoes and mushrooms.
“Lunch would be a chicken and bacon salad and a bowl of fruit, with yoghurt for dinner.
“Now I normally have two meals a day and plenty of fruit like apples throughout the day.
“I appreciate all the support my family has given me throughout and still.”