UK & World News
Warning Over Growing Numbers Of Blind Children
The number of blind or partially sighted children has increased due to a rise in survival rates of severely premature babies.
According to the charity Blind Children UK, the earlier a child is born the greater the risk of vision impairment. One in 20 children born severely premature is likely to be blind.
There has been a 9% rise in the number of children registered blind or partially sighted since 2006. Among under-fives the number has gone up by 12%.
The charity says despite increasing numbers of children being affected, a quarter of parents said they had to wait longer than a year for their child to be diagnosed.
Sally Freeman from Blind Children UK said: "The child won't know they have a visual impairment and if it's the first time for the parents, then they won't know there's a visual impairment involved.
"So the child could have a visual impairment for a while before they are diagnosed."
Fadzie Karima has no sight in her right eye and tunnel vision in her left eye.
The 13-year-old told Sky News: "I usually bump into stuff if I'm not being careful and it takes more concentration to do things like writing or using a computer."
She was diagnosed with juvenile glaucoma two years ago. Her mother, Ericah, wishes she had noticed sooner that her daughter was having difficulties.
"Had we gone for regular eye tests it would have been picked up a lot earlier but I didn't see the need for it," she said.
She is backing a campaign to urge other parents to get their children's eyesight checked.
The campaign also has the backing of Lord Holmes, the blind Paralympic swimmer.
He said: "Every day four children in the UK are registered blind or partially sighted.
"Sight loss can leave children feeling isolated and afraid - I know this from personal experience.
"Blind Children UK helps gives children the skills, confidence and support to enable them to enjoy their childhood and reach their potential as adults."