Tallaght mother praises early diagnoses of son’s glaucoma at Vision Express

Tallaght mother Fatima Okoeguale has expressed her thanks to Vision Express for diagnosing her son’s glaucoma at just nine years of age. As this week marks Healthy Eyes Week, Fatima spoke of her son Kelly’s eye problems. 

Kelly has been a customer of the Vision Express store in The Square Tallaght since age six. His mother became concerned about his sight when she noticed him squinting and struggling to see, even wearing his glasses.

Fatima explained:

“My husband has glaucoma and I knew the condition can be hereditary so I’ve always kept a close watch on Kelly, and my other children’s eye health. When I noticed Kelly was struggling to see, I knew something was amiss so I requested an earlier eye test at Vision Express.”

Upon examination, Saoirse McCrann, optometrist at the Tallaght store, detected increased pressure in Kelly’s eyes and immediately referred him to A&E at Temple Street Children’s Hospital. Kelly, now 11 years old, was diagnosed with glaucoma and is taking eye drops twice a day to manage his pressure levels.

Saoirse said:

“Glaucoma is a rare condition to find in a child so young, but it’s not unheard of. Given that Kelly’s father also has glaucoma it is likely Kelly inherited the condition, but it can be caused by incorrect development of the eye’s drainage system before birth. This is known as congenital glaucoma.”

Glaucoma is very subtle and it is usually not noticed by the patient until it is too late, hence why it is so important to have regular sight tests. It’s vital to act quickly if you notice anything wrong with your vision – whether you’re a child or an adult.

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Kelly can now manage his condition effectively and live a full life, including pursuing his passion for football and drama. His story has been released as part of Healthy Eyes Awareness Week, which runs from January 18th-24th and is a nationwide campaign calling upon the public to have regular eye tests.

Its organisers are asking people to add an eye test to their New Year’s resolutions, after research revealed that over half of people in Ireland have not had an eye exam in the last two years, the recommended interval between eye exams.

David Hewlett, Chief Executive of FODO Ireland, which is one of the industry bodies co-ordinating the initiative, commented:

“An eye exam is a vital health check that can detect a range of health conditions, for which you experience no symptoms and where early detection can prevent sight loss. Yet a recent survey shows 21% of the population of Ireland have never had a sight test, rising to 36% of those under the age of 35.

The ‘Healthy Eyes’ campaign is backed by three optical bodies; The Association of Optometrists Ireland (AOI) The Federation of (Ophthalmic and Dispensing) Opticians (FODO) Ireland and The Irish Association of Dispensing Opticians (IADO).

To sign the pledge visit the Healthy Eyes Week website here.