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Asha’s Story

Asha McPhee was born with bilateral cataracts making the lens in her eyes cloudy and preventing light or images through to her retina.

She was diagnosed at five weeks and her parents Matt and Fiona were told the cataracts would need to be removed before she was ten weeks. After this time, a baby’s brain essentially gives up trying to see.

Asha had two operations at eight and nine weeks to remove her lenses. She was fitted with contact lenses that enable her to see things up close – the most important thing for babies’ development.

As a toddler, Asha cannot see anything in focus more than 30cm from her eyes. She can’t see cars coming in the distance or helicopters in the sky. Family and friends need to be reminded to get up close when they talk to her. Her depth perception is also poor so she needs help to find steps and inclines.

Asha’s parents first took her to optometrist Danielle Ross at Eyes on Ardmore when she was around 12 weeks old to seek help with taking her contacts in and out. But what they got from visiting the clinic was so much more than this.

Danielle picked up an eye infection that turned out to be a bad ulcer on Asha’s cornea. If she hadn’t sent them off to hospital things could have been very serious.

Danielle has worked with Asha’s parents to teach them how to take her contact lenses out and even when she is frightened, crying or fighting to get away – Danielle makes it her mission to always remain calm, patient and caring.

Treating Asha and diagnosing her eye infection was part of the inspiration for Danielle to introduce the InfantSEE programme in her clinic. She is passionate about the health of little one’s eyes and hopes to give back to her community by offering free eye exams to all babies and toddlers under three.