A shocked mum discovered her young son has a rare eye condition which needs urgent treatment – after innocently posting a snap of her infant on Facebook.
Christina Doughty, 33, put up the happy snap of her smiling two-and-a-half year old son Miguel so all her friends could see it.
But she was stunned when pal Chantel Riley sent her a message back urging her to get her son’s eyes checked – because one showed yellow in the flash rather than red.
Christina went to her GP and then medics alter diagnosed her son as being blind in his left eye which needed urgent treatment if they are to save it.
The single mum from Southend, Essex, said: “I was so shocked when a fellow mum messaged me a couple of weeks ago.
“She basically told me that she didn’t want to alarm me but the photo showed my son with a yellow eye, and that I should get it checked out as soon as possible.
“Normally when you take a photo with the flash on the eyes come out red.
“However in this case they show yellow, which is an indication that the eye is dying.
“The next day I went straight to the GP who said they had never seen anything like it.
“Miguel was sent to a specialist in London, where he was put to sleep.
“When I was there I realised I was in a hospital where lots of children are having to deal with severe eye conditions and it was refreshing to see how positive they are all.
“I think what is most heartbreaking thing about it all is my son has been blind in one eye the whole time and I had no idea. “
Chantel, 31, messaged her friend because she had read articles in the past that suggested that if the eye was yellow, it was dying or there was an abnormality.
She said: “I saw the photos and videos of Miguel and I just knew that the eye wasn’t right.
“I knew there was something wrong straight away.
“I had seen other people trying to raise awareness of issue which is what made me message Christina.
“If it wasn’t for the photo we might of never even noticed his eye, so it’s lucky we caught it when we did”
Miguel was diagnosed with Coats’ Disease – a condition which is common within younger boys shares the same symptoms as cancer and other eye conditions.
Miguel has been diagnosed with stage 3A and with it being left any longer doctors may not of been able to do anything about it.
It is a rare disease characterized by abnormal development of blood vessels behind the retina.
Christina added: “I am trying to spread awareness of checking your children’s eyes.
“I am baffled as to why new mums aren’t given the information that taking a photo of their child in the dark with the flash on can diagnose eye conditions.
“If I can stop just one other mum going through what we have, I will be happy.
“It has been so worrying waiting to hear what was wrong with his eyes.”
Miguel is due to undergo laser treatments in June at Great Ormond Street Hospital to stop the blood vessels leaking at the back of his eye.
It may take up to seven surgeries before doctors can fix the problem.
Christina said: “It doesn’t affect him and he is your usual energetic two-year-old boy.
“Because he was born like this he thinks its normal to see out of one eye.
However, if the eye surgery isn’t able to fix the leak in Miguel eye, he will have to have it removed and replaced with a prosthetic eye.
“The operation is funded by the NHS, but if it doesn’t work there is medication that can be used to stabilise the condition, which isn’t available in the UK,” said Christina.
“I’ve even had to ship over special glasses for him from America to protect his good eye as they don’t sell them here.
“At the moment I’m just so grateful that he can see out of one of his eyes.
“I know he is strong and healthy and he will continue a normal life and continue to be who he is, just knowing that he has a special star in his eye for his whole life.
Christina, a college student, added: “The thought of another mother waking up one day to find out their child has been blind since birth is horrible.
“I was so angry when I found out. There are no posters or information about it when you are becoming a mother, and I think they should be.
“Even if it’s just an eye test every six months for newborns. Because if that was the case here, we might of been able to save Miguel sight.
“I would love to find people that have gone through the same thing and create a support group about it all.
“When I went to the GP they said that they had never had a case like that until Miguel which shows how rare the condition is
“And if I have the power to share this awareness I will do my best. We all want our children to have the best in life.
“Eyesight is incredibly important but I know he will still be capable of achieving his goals are he grows.”