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Joshua’s lucky escape

Sight-saving operation after pencil catapults into his eye. Berkshire parents raise £1,700 from swimathon for charity.


One lesson for nine-year old Berkshire schoolboy, Joshua Streak, turned into a nightmare. In December 2012, Joshua was busy completing his work, when the boy sitting next to him, who had been playing around with a pencil and elastic band, accidently catapulted the sharp pencil into Joshua’s eye as he looked round.

Realising something could be seriously amiss with Joshua’s eye, the school’s matron telephoned the young boy’s mother, Mrs Tracey Streak, and recommended that she take her son to the West Berkshire Community Hospital A&E as soon as possible.

There was indeed something gravely wrong with Joshua. The hospital doctor found a piece of pencil lead stuck in the boy’s left eye. Joshua was now a major emergency who needed urgent, specialist help. Joshua was rushed to Reading’s Royal Berkshire Hospital where its ophthalmic surgeon, Mr Ahmed El-Amir, director of The Berkshire Eye Clinic and The Harley Street Eye Clinic, was called in to help.

Mr El-Amir operated as soon as possible. The surgeon had to conduct a complex operation involving micro-incision vitrectomy surgery and repair of the wound.

Joshua’s worried parents had to wait two hours before hearing the good news that the operation had been a success, but it would be some time before they would know if any permanent damage had been caused.

According to Mrs Streak: “After operating on Joshua, Mr El-Amir informed me that the pencil lead had penetrated the white of Joshua’s eye. A few millimetres further towards the iris and he could have been blinded in that eye.”

After several visits in 2014 to Mr El-Amir’s clinic to check on Joshua’s eye, he was given the wonderful news that his sight had not been impaired and he could be discharged.

Joshua and his grateful parents raised money by organising a swimathon and donated £1,700 to The Berkshire Eye Clinic’s charity, the Retinal Children’s Fund which it set up to support eye care for children. The fund is currently aiding efforts to raise a further £25,000 to buy a new Retcam machine for the Special Care Baby Unit at Heatherwood & Wexham Park Hospital, Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust in Berkshire.

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