Eye research-raising Christmas puddings

Family fundraises for Fight for Sight to support research into corneal dystrophy

Matilda fundraising

The family of a seven-year-old with corneal dystrophy is seeking to raise awareness and funds for research investigating the sight-threatening condition.

Matilda began experiencing sight problems at the age of 18 months. During Christmas in 2010, the toddler was rushed to A&E in pain and, at the time, it was believed that she had scratched her cornea. A year later, Matilda was diagnosed with corneal dystrophy, a condition that means her eyes are covered in tiny microcysts, which can dry out and burst, causing extreme pain and blurred vision.

Since her diagnosis, the family has explored a number of treatment options to help prevent erosions occurring, but none have been successful. As a result, they are supporting national eye research charity Fight for Sight to raise funds for eye research into corneal dystrophy by selling Christmas puddings this festive period.

Supported by the Cumbria-based Ultimate Plum Pudding Company, the business will be selling Christmas and Sticky Toffee Puddings over the festive period, with funds raised donated to Fight for Sight. In addition, the family has set up a fundraising page where people can donate directly.

Matilda’s mother, Claire Henley, explained that the condition is currently managed using lubricating eye drops hourly during the day, thick ointments at night and bandage contact lenses.

Reflecting on Matilda’s experience, Ms Henley said: “It was heart breaking to witness Matilda in so much pain – we were in utter shock when we got the diagnosis.

“As parents it is incredibly frustrating not being able to solve your child’s problems. We felt we needed to do something, and by raising awareness of Matilda’s condition and Fight for Sight, we feel we are helping in some way. That’s way we’ve set up the fundraising page, Team Tilda, through Fight for Sight to help raise money to specifically support research into corneal dystrophy.”

To make a donation to the charity, visit the Team Tilda fundraising page.