Paralympic athlete wants to encourage eye tests and raise awareness of rare condition - The Solihull Observer
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14th Aug, 2022

Paralympic athlete wants to encourage eye tests and raise awareness of rare condition

Felix Nobes 27th Apr, 2018

A TEAM GB Paralympian has officially opened a new opticians in Solihull as part of his campaign to encourage eye tests and raise awareness of a rare eye disease.

Darren Harris, who competed for the UK in two Paralympics, was guest of honour as Vision Express opened a new store with state of the art sight screening equipment that can identify complex eye conditions.

Mr Harris, who is also a Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) patron, was diagnosed with bilateral retinoblastoma (Rb), a rare form of eye cancer when he was just 15 months old.

Following his diagnosis, Darren had his left eye removed and his right eye was treated with radiotherapy.

Mr Harris is calling for borough residents to regularly take eye tests to prevent conditions like his from affecting other people.

He said: “I remember my eyes were a little bit red and I had a white reflex.

“Local doctors didn’t really know what it was – it was 1975 and there was little awareness of eye cancer.

“I am grateful to be able to spread awareness of the importance of regular eye tests – especially in the detection and treatment of Rb. It is a vital message and it’s great to see an optician like Vision Express taking it so seriously.”

Despite his condition Darren went on to compete as part of the Team GB VI football team at the 2012 Paralympics, and he also represented Britain as a judoka at the 2008 Beijing games.

Darren is now hoping to be selected for the World Championships in Madrid this summer.

He has also supported the Ride4Sight campaign in recent years – a charity bike ride with people from across the country taking part to raise funds and awareness of Rb in support of CHECT.

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