Baby Violet hit by 1-in-100,000 eye condition

Natasha Fletcher, 25, and her seven-month-old baby, Violet Lymm, who has a rare sight condition that she wants to raise awareness of.'Claremount Road, Halifax

Natasha Fletcher, 25, and her seven-month-old baby, Violet Lymm, who has a rare sight condition that she wants to raise awareness of.'Claremount Road, Halifax

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FIRST-TIME mum Natasha plays lovingly with her seven month-old daughter Violet, but the future is unknown for this family.

Violet has Aniridia - a rare eye condition which affects one in every 100,000 babies.

Natasha Fletcher, 25, and her seven-month-old baby, Violet Lymm, who has a rare sight condition that she wants to raise awareness of.'Claremount Road, Halifax

Natasha Fletcher, 25, and her seven-month-old baby, Violet Lymm, who has a rare sight condition that she wants to raise awareness of.'Claremount Road, Halifax

It means part, or all of her iris - the part of the eye which controls the level of light getting into the eye - is missing.

Mum Natasha spotted the problem when Violet was just two weeks old, but it was six weeks later doctors could confirm her condition.

Violet was admitted to the Special Care Baby Unit at Calderdale Royal Hospital after a lengthy labour.

She was discharged three days later and at home Natasha noticed Violet wasn’t following anything with her eyes and her pupils were always big.

A GP confirmed there was a problem and she was admitted to the Children’s Ward for tests.

As she left, Natasha burst into tears, fearing her daughter was blind.

She turned to the Aniridia Network for help.

The family, including Violet’s Dad Johnathan Lymm, are playing a waiting game.

Their beautiful daughter could grow up to be largely unaffected or she could be blind.

But until she is older, and can speak, they do not know what she can see.

By the time she should be worrying about going to high school, 10 year-old Violet will be at a higher risk of glaucoma and cataracts.

“When she’s old enough she might be able to have iris transplants but with her being little I have to be so careful with the sun getting in her eyes.

“Even when it’s snowing, the light reflecting can hurt her. She’ll probably have to wear tinted glasses when she’s outside.”

Violet, who is now registered as disabled, goes to the Child Development Unit at Calderdale Royal hospital every week where she works with Alison Firth, who Natasha calls her “angel”.

There she plays in the sensory room and Alison works with Violet to heighten her senses - including putting her feet in treacle.

Natasha is now fund-raising for the charity who helped her in the early days.

“When I was told I wasn’t upset, I was angry. I did everything right in pregnancy, I didn’t smoke, or dirnk and ate healthily.

“I am just so grateful she’s healthy, when we go to the ward I am grateful she’s not critical.”

But the resilient mum said it is the unknown which scares her. “I worry about people looking at her when she’s outside with her glasses on, or at school if she struggles, but I suppose all parents worry about things like that,” she said.

For Violet, her condition is already starting to frustrate her. “She gets frustrated very quickly, she’ll want to pick something up, but can’t,” said Natasha.

But there are reasons to be optimistic.

Natasha says Violet has started smiling back at her when the pair are at home. For Natasha finding a support network and being able to talk to other sufferers has made all the difference.

“Even just being able to see a video of a ten year-old juggling showed it affects everybody differently. Some people have it at one extreme where they need guide dogs, others say it doesn’t really affect them at all.”

“I think about it all the time. Although babies are hard work anyway, Violet’s lifestyle is very full-on.”

Natasha spends as much time as possible stimulating her and keeping her busy, taking her to playgroup, the library and the sensory room at the hospital.

Natasha has already raised more than £400 through raffles, and tickets to her latest are on sale.

For details visit Facebook and search for “Violets fundraising”. You can also visit www.charitygiving.co.uk/violetsfundraising.