A FAMILY has thanked Observer readers for helping them travel to Singapore to access life-changing eye treatment for a Stratford youngster.
Charlie Beech began suffering eye problems when he was just seven-years-old and since then his sight has deteriorated dramatically and there are fears he could go blind during his teenage years.
The 12-year-old has been diagnosed with cupped optic discs, severe short-sightedness and glaucoma – which causes damage to the optic nerve and is often found in older people.
His prescription changes so rapidly he has to have new glasses made every three months. Many of his complex sight problems result from being born prematurely weighing just 1.5lb.
Mum Carla told the Observer the family had no choice but to travel to Singapore where the former Bridgetown Primary School pupil, who now attends a special school in Nuneaton, could access drops which would prevent his eyes from deteriorating further.
And after 11 days in the far east they are now back home and delighted with Charlie’s progress.
Carla said: “Tests in Singapore flagged up additional problems which can be monitored such as a small cataract in his right eye.
“ He’s been using the drops for a week and his eyesight has actually improved a little. This can happen at first. The Singaporean doctors have given us a prescription for photo chromatic glasses as he’s going to be more light sensitive from the drops and he needs to wear baseball caps in the sun, it is well worth it though.
“I’d like to thank everyone for their generous donations and helping to give us the chance to make a difference to Charlie’s future.”
Science-loving Charlie travelled to Asia with his mum and ten-year-old sister Brooke at the beginning of April.
It was the first time the family had ever travelled abroad and alongside the ‘amazing’ news about Charlie’s eyesight the trio said they loved taking in the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia.
Carla said: “As well as the medical intervention, the children had an amazing time and have been educated about the history of Singapore.
“Additionally, they experienced the amazing mix of cultures, animals and food. It really is an amazing country.”
The family were legally allowed to bring back a year’s worth of the eye drops for Charlie, but doctors are hopeful the medicine will be available in the UK by the end of the year.
Carla says if they are not she will return to Singapore to collect more for her son.