A MUM has stressed the importance of checking for eye health in children after her three-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer.

It was in October last year that Helen and Matt Harris noticed a milky colour in the eye of their daughter Ella, and took her to an optician at Tesco in Spytty.

Mrs Harris said: “I wasn’t expecting it to be cancer.

“It just shook our entire world. You don’t ever want that to happen to your child.”

They were referred to a consultant at the Royal Gwent Hospital and then to Birmingham Children’s Hospital where they received the devastating news Ella had Retinoblastoma.

It is a rare form of cancer which affects the retina of children aged under five.

Mrs Harris added: “She [Ella] went under anaesthetic and they had a look her and saw that both of her eyes were affected. It was so bad in her left eye that they said that it had to come out.”

Ella now has a prosthetic left eye and is receiving chemotherapy at Noah’s Ark Children’s Hospital in Cardiff.

She also has laser therapy in Birmingham, and will head for proton beam therapy at a specialist hospital in Germany.

Her parents said they were keen to highlight the symptoms of Retinoblastoma to others.

“There are key things to look for,” Mrs Harris said. “There’s a squint, a white glint in the eye or even if the eye turns in too much. If you see anything that’s a little strange then go see someone.

“Normally children don’t get eye tests until they are about five, so we are lucky that the optician would see us.”

Signs of Retinoblastoma include an unusual white reflection in the pupil that might be apparent in photos, a squint, a change in the colour of the iris, a red or inflamed eye and poor vision.

The couple are both on leave from work while they come to terms with their daughter’s condition.

A fundraising page has been set up for the family to help them cover their living costs and can be found at justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ellaharris