THE parents of little Connor Wrighton have spoken about how their lives were "turned upside down" by the discovery that their six-month old son is blind.
Nathan and Lisa Wrighton, from Skipton, have known for only a couple of months that Connor could not see - but it was the culmination of problems that afflicted the youngster from birth.
Nathan, 27, said: "Obviously, we were not expecting this. It was a traumatic birth anyway. Connor had to be delivered by caesarean section. Soon after he was born we thought his head was swollen but we were told the swelling would go down. But when they came to take his measurements after a couple of days it was obvious his head was larger than it should be.
"I didn't know anything was wrong until I went to collect them from the hospital. Lisa said we'd have to wait to see a doctor, and right way I knew something was badly wrong. The doctor told us they'd found fluid on his brain. I said 'Is he going to die?' The doctor said she didn't know at that stage. Of course, we were devastated."
Immediately, Connor was rushed to Leeds General Infirmary. Neurologists examined him and gave him an MRI scan, which showed that he had had a slight brain haemorrhage. But they could not tell when it had taken place, either at birth or inside the womb.
There was a blood clot in one of the ventricles of Connor's brain and the fluid was getting blocked in his head. Connor was monitored at the LGI for a week and doctors found he had slight cerebral palsy on his right hand side of his brain which were affecting his motor skills.
Nathan explained: "We decided we had to take him back to the LGI. An ophthalmologist decided he need an operation straight away and a shunt was put in when he was 23 days old. This regulates the pressure on his brain, by acting as a valve and taking the fluid into his belly. He's going to have it for the rest of his life.
"Then at his eight-week check, the nurse asked if his eyes were following us and we realised they weren't. If you spoke to Connor close up to him he jumped, because he didn't know you were there."
Connor was taken back to Leeds and the ophthalmologist discovered his optic nerves were damaged. He had a visual response test which showed he had optic atrophy.
Lisa said: "No parent ever thinks they are going to have to deal with something like this. Our lives have changed dramatically. We don't yet know what this could mean in the future - is our house going to have to be adapted or might we have to move? But obviously we are absolutely determined to do whatever it takes to help Connor."