St Albans mum and her near-blind daughter join Fight for Sight campaign

PUBLISHED: 14:25 20 November 2017 | UPDATED: 14:25 20 November 2017

Catherine and Sienna Parsi. Photo supplied by Fight For Sight.

Catherine and Sienna Parsi. Photo supplied by Fight For Sight.

Archant

A St Albans mum and her near-blind daughter have appeared in adverts supporting more funding for sight-saving research.

Catherine Parsi, 36, and her five-year-old daughter Sienna have appeared in publicity for the Fight for Sight charity.

Catherine’ twins Sienna and Joshua were born 28 weeks premature, but as they were about to be discharged after several weeks in hospital it was found Sienna’s eyes had not formed correctly, a condition called retinopathy of prematurity.

Sienna, who attends Wheatfields with her brother, only has a small pocket of light perception in her left eye and relies on a white cane when she goes out.

Catherine said: “She was born with it so does not know any different. It’s her everyday life.

“I don’t feel she should have this condition, not in this day and age.”

Sienna’s condition is preventable, however hers was not caught in time.

Since her daughter developed the condition, Catherine has tried to understand what is like to be blind, including running the London Marathon blindfolded.

She said: “It was an experience, opening up my mind to what Sienna goes through, and to how much I take my sight for granted.

“Without support or funding, there is no research. Without research, there is no hope for Sienna and so many others living with sight loss.”

Fight for Sight funds research to stop sight loss caused by common and rare eye diseases and conditions such as Sienna’s.

That research has resulted in the identification of new genes responsible for glaucoma, and Nance-Horan syndrome, which causes clouds in the eye.

Fight for Sight’s chief executive Michele Acton said: “Research funded by Fight for Sight has benefitted so many people but we know we can do more – and we want to.”

Overall, Fight for Sight research commitments amount to £8m for more than 159 research projects at 44 universities and hospitals.

Their funding has also helped create the world’s first clinical trial of a treatment for choroideremia, which causes blindness in men.

It has also helped develop a new test to detect the early stages of age-related retina degeneration.

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