Teesside dad diagnosed with rare Best disease after losing his eyesight during World Cup match

Callum Kelly with his wife Katie, 35, and has three children, Luca, eight, Ruby, two and one-year-old Poppy. Credit: TEESSIDE LIVE/NCJ MEDIA

A father-of-three is raising awareness about a rare eye condition after he suddenly started losing his sight while watching a World Cup match.

Callum Kelly was watching the England vs France match in the World Cup when he noticed something was wrong with his sight.

The 28-year-old from Thornaby, on Teesside, said he could no longer see the screen properly and a few days later, woke up with his vision almost gone.

After a visit to see specialists, it was confirmed to be Best Vitelliform Macular Dystrophy, or Best Disease, a condition affecting part of the retina at the back of the eye.

Best disease is a type of macular dystrophy, and is an inherited genetic eye condition. It causes problems with central vision but does not lead to total loss of sight and is not painful.

Mr Kelly now wants to raise awareness of the little-known disease because there is not much information online about it, as well as the spectrum of sight loss.

The disease had been spotted when he was around 12 years old, and medics said it probably would not affect him until he was in his 50s or 60s, if at all.

Mr Kelly said: "By the time I was 16 nothing had changed and they said it might never affect me and just to get regular eye tests, which I did."

He can now only see a blur of colours in his left eye, and there is no definition, and his right eye currently has about 20% vision. He does not know if or when his condition with deteriorate.

He said he is now worried in case he has passed it to his children.

Mr Kelly, who has three children, Luca, eight, Ruby, two and one-year-old Poppy, said: "What kills me is knowing I might not be able to see my kids' faces. I might not see my daughters walk down the aisle or Luca playing football.

Mr Kelly's three children, Luca, eight, Ruby, two and one-year-old Poppy. Credit: TEESSIDE LIVE/NCJ MEDIA

"I could just sit and cry for 12 hours a day if I thought it would do any good, but it won't. I have kids, I just have to get on with things.

Mr Kelly - who worked operating plant machinery - said: "All of a sudden everything changed.

"It was just bang, your life blown up. I can't drive, I can't do my job and they are telling me what benefits I am entitled to. It has really knocked me for six, it was an enormous blow."

About his wife, Katie, he added: "Katie has been my rock. It's like she has four children to look after now.

"She is having to do everything, all the running about because I can't drive. I just keep thinking, what do I do know?"

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