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The Countess of Wessex helps save baby's eyesight thanks to experience with her daughter Lady Louise

Sophie spotted the little boy had a squint on a royal visit to Bangladesh

Sophie Hamilton

Sophie, Countess of Wessex turns 53 on Saturday and the royal has more than one reason to celebrate. As the Countess marks her birthday, she will be thrilled to hear of some very happy news concerning a baby boy in Bangladesh, named Junayed. In November 2017, Sophie travelled to the remote region of Barisal to see how The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust is raising awareness of the growing rates of blindness in the community. While on her visit, Sophie held seven-month-old Junayed for a photograph and spotted he had a squint or 'strabismus', requiring urgent attention. Now, the trust has revealed that the little boy has received treatment to save his eyesight.

Photo credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

It is a cause particularly close to Sophie's heart, as her own daughter, Lady Louise, suffered from strabismus when she was younger, but has perfect sight now. The Countess, who is Vice-Patron of The Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust, was instrumental in ensuring baby Junayed receive the treatment he required. Shortly after her visit, the Fred Hollows Foundation, programme partner of the Trust, arranged for Junayed to receive free treatment to save the sight in the affected eye. The foundation also arranged counselling for Junayed's parents, Saidul and Fatima. The little boy was treated on 10 January 2018.

READ: Sophie Wessex shows off her maternal side as she meets locals in Bangladesh

Photo credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

Dr Astrid Bonfield, Chief Executive of the Trust said: “It is such wonderful news to learn that Junayed has received successful treatment to correct his squint, a condition that is often not picked up in time for treatment to be effective. As our Vice-Patron, and in her many other roles across eye health sector, The countess has been instrumental in raising global awareness about the issue of avoidable blindness, and calling advocating for eye health access to people who need it most. The Countess was visibly moved by this little boy and I’m sure she will be thrilled that his condition is being treated. I can’t think of a better birthday present than knowing you’ve saved someone’s sight.”

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Before the Trust’s programme started in Bangladesh, people in rural communities had little or no access to quality eye health care. People who required treatment had to travel to Dhaka - a day’s journey by road or boat – making it almost inaccessible for those who need it most. Dr Zareen Khair, Director of the Fred Hollows Foundation Bangladesh said, “To Junayed’s parents’ surprise, the check-up and treatment process was not risky at all. They now understand that seeking eye care, be it at any age, is important and not at all troublesome.”

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