Baby who sees in black and white – was swine flu the cause?

Freyah Rose Lyons is completely colour blind, a condition doctors believe could be due to her mum having swine flu during pregnancy

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After giving birth, mum Cassie Lyons noticed that her newborn daughter Freyah Rose Lyons was sleeping a lot, her eyes were moving involuntarily and she had difficulty focusing. Cassie took her to the doctor who diagnosed that Freyah has optic nerve hypoplasia, where her eyes move constantly from side to side. Further tests revealed that the toddler was also not receptive to colours.

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“It’s thought she can only see in black and white, but because she is so young she will only be able to tell us when she is older. Tests have shown she can concentrate better on a black and white screen and it takes her a lot longer to focus on colour,” said Cassie, reports the Daily Mail.

It’s believed that Freyah’s optic nerves didn’t develop properly in the womb and while doctors have said this may have been caused by a cold or flu, Cassie thinks it may have been because she had the H1N1 virus (swine flu) during pregnancy.

“I never felt ill. But my mum and brother had swine flu and other family members also had it at the time I was pregnant. I remember making sure I stayed away from people with the virus while I was pregnant, but perhaps I contracted it without realising,” added Cassie.

Pregnant women are more susceptible to swine flu because during pregnancy your immune system is under increased strain. Flu experts are warning that swine flu will return again this winter, and are recommending that all pregnant women are inoculated.

Unfortunately for Freyah, true colour blindness is so rare there is no cure, but it shouldn’t cause any other health complications . Around one in 10,000 are affected by optic nerve hypoplasia, according to Freyah’s consultant, Dr. Susmito Biswas from the Royal Manchester Eye Hospital.

Cassie is raising money, by events such as a sponsored sky-dive, for a sensory room for their home in order to help Freyah strengthen her vision.

Read our guides to coughs during pregnancy and colds during pregnancy for more advice on what medicine you can take and what medicine you should avoid when expecting.

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