A mother hopes more children with a rare eye disease will be able to benefit from a treatment newly available to over-fours like her son.
Natasha Gooding’s son Harry has been using Verkazia eye drops emulsion against the judgement of many doctors for over a year to aid his vernal keratoconjunctivitis (VKC).
The drops suppress the itchiness of the six-year-old’s eyes and reduce his allergic responses, allowing him to ‘have as normal a childhood as he can’.
“It’s a bit of a false economy though as he’s not better but his symptoms are masked,” the mum-of-two from Syresham said.
Harry’s eye problems started at nursery when he was two and it took a year of doctors’ appointments before an ophthalmologist confirmed he had VKC.
“It got to the point where he couldn’t open his eyes and would fall down the stairs, and he’s very light-sensitive,” Natasha said.
Until he was five, his treatment consisted of nasal sprays, antihistamines and steroids as no doctors would prescribe Verkazia as it was not approved.
Eventually Moorfields Eye Hospital in London allowed Harry to have the drops, which have helped him a lot.
Since October 25, Verkazia is licensed to be prescribed to children from four years old and adolescents.
Dr Atiya Kenworthy, from Santen, the company behind the drops, said: “We are so pleased to have reached this important milestone, building on Santen’s commitment to provide innovative eye medicines for real unmet medical needs.”
Natasha is concerned that there are many children out there with similar symptoms to Harry that have not had the right diagnosis.
“I’m really keen to raise awareness primarily as I’m quite a feisty character and I have had to cry on doors, kick and scream to get a diagnosis for Harry and the correct treatment,” she said.
“So if people aren’t as forthright as me then they might not have the right diagnosis.”
Anyone who wants to speak to Natasha about VKC and Verkazia should contact the Banbury Guardian.