New mother Lily Fleet posted a cleverly-edited video dressing her son Ari that happened to be spotted by optometrist Laura Brown.
Noticing Ari’s left eye had a cloudy appearance and an outward squint during a short few seconds of the video, she messaged Fleet suggesting she get the eight-week-old checked out.
The tests revealed he had congenital glaucoma, which required an urgent operation to open a tube in his eye so fluid could drain out.
Lily had been to the doctors already, but had been turned away, until she went armed with Brown’s advice.
“When we saw the specialists they said this isn’t often picked up before seven months so we’re very lucky,” said Fleet, from East London. “I wasn’t surprised because I had noticed his eye and been to the doctor but Laura encouraged me to make sure I saw a specialist which made all the difference.”
“I’m so grateful to her for reaching out. It’s something I’ll never forget. It would be lovely to have an impact on someone’s life like that,” she added.
Untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to blindness. Fleet said she had noticed Ari’s eye wasn’t focusing properly and had been reassured it was fine by her doctor at his six week check up.
She was told to come back if the squint hadn’t self-corrected by three months. The cloudiness, which is caused by the undrained fluid, appeared a week later.
“I was in two minds about reaching out,” Brown, herself a mother of two, admits. “I worried about being the crazy lady on the internet. But you don’t always get specialists looking at a baby that young so I decided to go for it.”
“He would 100% have lost all or most of the vision in that eye in a couple of months, if it had been left untreated,” Brown said, adding that parents shouldn’t ignore their instincts about their child’s health.
“If you think there’s anything with the eyes that you’re not sure about, get it checked out by an optometrist: they are the ones who do eye tests.”