A COUPLE diagnosed their young daughter’s cataracts – because their pet dog suffered the same condition.
Kayleigh McCann, 25, and Daniel Bruton, 26, from Birmingham saw the same grey eyes in little Grace, as boxer Molly.
The first-time parents kept a close watch on the youngster but after a few weeks when Grace’s pupils remained the same colour, they told their GP about their concerns that it might be cataracts.
Yet it took nearly a year for medics to finally diagnose Grace with the condition – which is rare in children.
Now Grace, aged five, is getting the help she needs at Birmingham Children’s Hospital, where doctors are desperately trying to save her sight.
“We knew something was wrong with Grace’s eyes when she was born because of the experience we’d had with Molly,” explained Kayleigh, speaking out to raise awareness of the condition amongst children and to highlight National Play Week.
“The dog’s cataracts were well established. It was Daniel who it first dawned on as Molly was his mum’s dog, and I agreed immediately.
“We also had other relatives who had cataracts so knew the classic symptoms.
“If it hadn’t been for Molly we would never have known about the condition.”
The couple took the tot to their GP to tell them they believed it was cataracts, but they were told they were paranoid new parents.
“We knew that something was wrong with our little girl and we weren’t going to give up,” Kayleigh added.
Still convinced something was wrong, Kayleigh changed doctors and was referred to the Children’s Hospital where her condition was confirmed. “I felt a huge sense of relief that we finally knew what was wrong and could now move forward,” Kayleigh said. “Grace’s vision had been severely affected.
“She couldn’t see out of her left eye and there was only 25 per cent vision in her right eye. Everything she could see was very misty and blurry. She needed an operation on both eyes to remove the cataracts.”
Consultant ophthalmologist Manoj Parulekar carried out the sensitive surgery on Grace, in which she received lense implants.
And now the race is on to save the sight in her right eye as she suffers from epilepsy which was masked by a brain condition.
Kayleigh explained: “Grace has to wear a patch to help improve her vision and make sure she doesn’t go blind. Emma Hughes, a therapist in the play centre has helped to coax Grace back into hospital as she has developed a fear of them following her previous experiences.
“They’ve made a real difference to her life.”
She added: “I want to make more parents aware out there that it’s not just an old person’s condition. Children suffer from cataracts, and although it may be rare, it can still affect you.”