A TEENAGER faces challenges with the day-to-day things other young people find easy.
Charlotte Aspland, 15, has Stargardt’s disease, an inherited eye condition which destroys the central vision of the eyes at an early age.
Texting friends, reading a book and applyng make up are all tasks which take Charlotte longer than her friends, since she was diagnosed at the age of ten.
There is no cure or treatment for the condition, which had its greatest impact on Charlotte’s eyesight within the first six months, but then stabilised.
Although her parents both have the gene, it has not effected their sight.
Her dad, Paul, 47, said: “With the deterioration of her vision stabilised, she can at least be comfortable in the knowledge that her existing vision will be maintained. “However, unless her vision improves, driving a car will not be viable.
“Beverley and I will always feel an element of guilt, as it has to be inherited from both parents.
“It is a constant concern that her sister Melanie will develop the condition. As we both have the defective gene, there is a 25 per cent chance that Melanie develops it as well.”
Charlotte, who goes to Greens-ward Academy in Hockley, needs to wear sunglasses on bright days as the UVA rays are harmful to her eyes.
She takes vitamins and while there are treatments in development using gene technology and stem cells, nothing is available yet.
Paul, of Main Road, Hockley, added: “Recognising her friends can be difficult and texting and make up is a challenge. Using the train can be tricky – timetables are small. “At school, papers have to be enlarged on a day-to-day basis and examinations are a challenge. Despite this, Charlotte is achieving excellent results due to her intellect and perseverance.”
The family, including mum Bever-ley, 43, and younger daughter Mel-anie, 13, are positive and have raised money by taking part in the Fight for Sight Carrots Night-Walk, a 15-mile event in London, on Friday.
They hope to raise £1,000 for the charity, which funds research.
Charlotte said: “This is my way of standing up and showing I am not going to let this disorder get the better of me.
“I know I could be a lot worse off and I feel like I need to do as much as I can to help people who are struggling to cope.”
To donate, go to www.justgiving. com/Paul-Aspland