Baby boy opens his eyes for the first time aged 17 months
15:47 GMT, 17 July 2012
A baby boy has opened his eyes for the first time aged 17 months.
Little Lucas Hammond was born with a severe visual impairment and doctors feared he would never see anything.
Now his parents say he seems able to tell the difference between light and dark.
Lucas Hammond, 17 months, with his mother Ashleigh Knox. Ashleigh says he is more responsive now
Mother Ashleigh Knox, 23, of Gateshead, said: 'He just started opening them a tiny bit at a time, and we saw for the first time he had blue eyes and saw his pupils too.
'He doesn’t open them all the time, and when he does he can look tired, but we’re really pleased that he can – it’s a huge difference.'
Ashleigh and her partner of five years, David Hammond, found out Lucas had bilateral microphthalamia just hours after he was born at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Gateshead in 2011.
The rare disorder meant his eyes had not formed properly during pregnancy and were left too small, and cannot be fully opened.
Ashleigh said: 'He can’t walk and he doesn’t like sitting up, but he is coming on so much.
'At first it was hard, but we’ve just got so much support from family and we
have met lovely people who are in a similar situation to us.'
Lucas was born with Bilateral Microphthalamia – a rare disorder that meant his eyes had not formed correctly during pregnancy
Lucas also has Nystagmus, where the eyes move involuntarily from left to right and can often have a cyst on his right eye, causing discomfort.
She said: We think now he has light and dark perception. If we have our hand over his face he can reach out.
'He has a teacher too who comes to the house and helps him sit up and
encourages him to reach for things.
'She also flashes lights to see how he reacts,' added Ashleigh, who works as an Avon representative.
But the biggest change for Lucas has been attending Leam Lane Nursery where she says dedicated staff have helped him improve and learn how to interact with other children.
She said: 'At first we had to go in every day for a month because he couldn’t get used to it, and now he goes in all day on a Friday.
'He didn’t like all the other children touching him, but now we’ve got his
report from his visual impairment teacher and he is doing so well.'
Charity Useful Vision has also given him the chance to go swimming for the
first time and attend regular music sessions, which Ashleigh said he loves.
Lucas’ father David, 27, is now looking after him full time after leaving his job in the Army, where he was based in Cyprus.
Ashleigh said: 'When he was working away it was hard to be a family and it was hard to get to all the appointments Lucas needs. I had my family around but it’s better now. Lucas is also comfortable with David and loves being with him and it’s like he has never been away.'