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Children's eyesight saved by Hospital Open Day

Staff from the Royal Bournemouth Hospital's Eye Unit spotted a number of undiagnosed problems at this year's annual Open Day.

Several unsuspecting families who attended the hospital's annual event had quite a surprise when they found out their children had undiagnosed focussing problems with their eyes.

Olivia Welham, aged four and from Christchurch, took part in the activities going on in the Eye Department. Olivia had a free eye test, which led to the diagnosis of anisometropia - a difference in the focussing power between the two eyes, which means one eye doesn't develop normal vision, and can be undetected until adult life when it is too late to treat.

Poppy Webb, aged five and from Burton, also received a diagnosis as a result of the day's tests. She now has glasses to correct the astigmatism.

The two are pleased with their glasses. Olivia said: "I love my glasses. I have two pairs - they're pink and purple". And Poppy expressed her delight too: "I was so excited to get my glasses. My twin sister, Eleanor, wishes she had some too and my mum says my reading has improved already."

Julie Cartledge, Head Orthoptist at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital, said: "The Open Day is a great opportunity for us to showcase our services and facilities and I'm so pleased Olivia and Poppy could be helped by our Open Day testing.

"If glasses and other treatments are needed, but the condition is left undetected, the problem will certainly not get better, and in fact, can often get much worse. Young children need to have their eyes assessed by a trained eye care professional, which is why we provide free checks to all children in reception across Dorset. This helps identify children with previously undetected vision problems. After this check we recommend all children have an annual optometrist appointment to ensure no further problems develop."

This year's Open Day attracted over 500 people and saw many of the hospital's departments open to the public offering a number of activities for young and old alike.

2018's Open Day is planned for 15 September so save the date in your diaries.

Poppy, Julie and Olivia, following the Open Day

L-R Poppy, Julie and Olivia, following the Open Day

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