Stepney dad campaigns on eye diagnosis in ethnic minority kids

PUBLISHED: 18:00 14 May 2013

Fuad Mohammed with his daughter Shakila

Fuad Mohammed with his daughter Shakila


A father is pursuing a one man crusade to improve understanding of eye conditions in ethnic minority children – two years after his daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease.

Fuad Mohammed started campaigning for more accurate guidelines on eye problems in black and ethnic minority kids after his daughter Shakila was diagnosed with aniridia – the absence of the iris.

The disease causes partial loss of sight, and means the four-year-old must wear protective glasses in natural light.

But Mr Mohammed, of Avis Square, Stepney, said current NHS diagnosis literature fails to take differences between white and ethnic minority children’s eyes.

“There’s a difference between races but there’s nothing in the guidelines”, he said.

“It’s a different reflection but GPs are not aware of this”.

Doctors are currently told to look out for a red colouring in the eye when identifying problems. But Mr Mohammed said experts have found black babies with eye problems usually have an orange tint in their eyes.

“I have done my own research”, he said. “I have found out this is quite well known in the medical world that black babies have a different reflection in their eyes.”

Mr Mohammed has written numerous letters to the NHS, MPs and the department of health.

But he has had no luck improving guidance for doctors on how to spot the difference, which he says affects diagnosis of more common diseases such as cataracts as well.

Shakila attends Moorfields Eye Hospital in Old Street for check-ups every three months.

And her dad has vowed to keep highlighting the issue so that problems in other children are accurately diagnosed.

“I am doing this for every other baby that’s being failed by the system”, he said.

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