Long train journey of Charlie's rare eye condition
“One night, as I went to go to sleep, I noticed my eye was blurry.”
This is the moment that led to nine-year-old Charlie Buck, who loves art, being diagnosed with a rare and serious inflammation of the eye called uveitis that will affect the rest of his childhood.
Uveitis is inflammation of an important part of the eye called the uvea. It is often a long-term condition and when found too late or untreated, it can permanently damage the eye, leading to vision loss and blindness.
Charlie said: “I couldn’t see out of my right eye. It was blurry with big spots and there were lines too. It was not totally black, but I could not see people properly.”
When it occurs in children, reduced vision can often be the first sign of Uveitis.
The family took Charlie to an optician and after speaking to their doctor ended up at Sheffield Children’s emergency department. Within five days, he had his first appointment with a specialist team, then a series of tests, plus steroid injections to treat the inflammation and avoid any permanent eye damage.
Dad William said: “Our initial reaction was one of shock. You just think it will be temporary, that the doctors will treat it and within a month everything will be okay again. Then you realise that’s not the case and you have got to get on with things. “
Charlie has so far had three operations and requires ongoing monitoring, attending the specialist multidisciplinary Uveitis clinic at Sheffield Children’s.
In this clinic, children have access to cutting-edge treatments and take part in clinical trials which include the use of promising new treatments. Charlie will remain under the care of Sheffield Children’s for the rest of his childhood.
Jessy Choi, consultant paediatric ophthalmologist at the hospital added: “Childhood uveitis is like in a long train journey. “Charlie and his family will meet many people and specialists on their way. “We don’t know how many stops there are, or how long the journey will be; but we are on the train with them to do the best for them.”
Charlie’s family have donated £7,500 from the horse trials they run on the Frickley Park estate, South Yorkshire, to The Children’s Hospital Charity. It will be devoted to improving the patient experience of children with uveitis.