By Alexa Kaczka
For many people, losing their eyesight is their worst fear, even more so than their other senses failing, and for young people in particular it can have a severe impact on their lives.
Yet, that was the scenario facing 12-year-old Zara Fraser this year, who feared she would never see again.
The Manly Daily News reported how the Whale Beach native was hospitalised after developed the rare eye infection periorbital cellulitis.
The condition comprises inflammation and infection of the eyelid and areas of skin around the eye and can be caused by breaks in the skin around the eye, infection of the sinuses around the nose or even the spread of an infection from another body part through the blood, which results in the subsequent spreading of the infection to the eyelid.
When Zara was diagnosed with this, she was sent to the Sydney Children's Hospital where it was revealed that her eyesight was at risk.
She told the newspaper: "When we went to see the eye doctor he said I had to have an operation in two hours otherwise I would lose my eyesight."
The experts found that it was caused by a severe sinus infection and Zara had to undergo a three-hour operation to fix the problem, resulting in her being in hospital for two weeks.
However, she revealed how she is now almost back to normal and will celebrate the restoration of her vision by joining other eye patients from the hospital at 17th annual Rotary of Sydney Cove Regatta, the newspaper noted.
A pirate-theme cruise of Sydney Harbour on a Tall Ship has been privately funded by Rotary and Zara will be able to put her eyes to good use by joining with the parents of the children and hospital staff to hoist the sails and scrub the ship's deck like a pirate.
by Martin Burns