Mum's eye warning

A Wiltshire mum is warning other parents not to leave it too late to get their children's eyes checked.

It comes as a study by Vision Express found almost 40 per cent of parents of primary school pupils have never taken their child for an eye test and 88 per cent don't know the national recommended screening age is five years old.

Ceri Kilty's daughter Ella lost an eye when she was just 5 years old, here's her story:

Eight year old Ella Kilty is once again a happy child after going through a traumatic three years after she was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma - a rare, cancerous tumour of the optical nerve - and losing her left eye.

Just before Ella's fifth birthday in May 2008, her mum, Ceri, had decided to take her to the opticians for her first ever eye test. Ella had not complained of any eye related problems and as far as Ceri was aware her eyesight was in good health. However, after talking with a fellow mum who had recently taken her child, Ceri was prompted to do the same with Ella.

They visited a local optician's in Swindon where a routine eye test was conducted. From their test results, a shadow was detected so Ella was referred to a hospital in Swindon for further analysis. As it was the end of the week, Ceri had an agonising wait over the weekend before she could get Ella to a doctor first thing Monday.

At the hospital Ella was put through extensive tests. To Ceri's shock the doctor revealed that Ella was unable to see out of her left eye. Ella had never raised the alarm and never complained of difficulty at school so her parents were unaware of this. The doctors also revealed that Ella had a cancerous tumour on her optical nerve. Sadly, they were unable to save Ella's eye as the tumour was too large to remove. Crucially, if detected sooner a Retinoblastoma can be treated without the removal of a patient's eye. However, as it is a fast growing tumour it was simply too late for Ella.

The removal of Ella's eye was followed by an unsettling period for Ella. Her school friends, curious as children are, asked questions about her prosthetic eye. Ella was uncomfortable and became sensitive when talking about it.

Ceri has revealed her guilt and anguish over Ella's ordeal but is thankful that she managed to get her daughter treatment before it was too late. After Ella's diagnosis, friends and family were compelled to go to the optician's to get their eyes tested.

Ella has recently been fitted with a new artificial eye, which she is over the moon about as it looks more 'real', and has happily announced that getting a new eye is the 'start of her new life.'

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