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Last Updated: Sunday, 15 January 2006, 15:44 GMT
Birthmark nearly blinded daughter
Matilda Baxter
The birthmark led to Matilda's right eye closing up
A Cornish mother has told how a search on the internet helped save her young daughter from blindness.

Matilda Harding was born with a large birthmark over her right eye which got bigger day by day.

Her mother Louise Baxter, of Luxulyan, near St Austell, was told by doctors not to worry and it would go away.

But a search on the internet led her to get Matilda, now three, treated at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London by doctors who saved the eye.

Matilda Baxter
Matilda is now better after being treated with steroids
Accounts clerk Mrs Baxter, 41, said: "Matilda was born with a pale pink patch over her eye.

"My doctor said it would go away, but three weeks later it became a livid blood-red growth.

"Her eye was swollen and closing more and more each day."

Six weeks later her eye was completely closed and the mark "was like a piece of raw steak stuck to her head".

Matilda was given a non-urgent hospital appointment, but desperate Mrs Baxter knew the wait could be six months.

"This thing was growing like an alien and the GP gave me some ointment," she said.

A search on the internet led her to the Birthmark Support Group's (BSG) website and Mrs Baxter sent them an email.

"They came back within hours and suggested Great Ormond Street Hospital," said Mrs Baxter.

'Very lucky'

"The hospital rang at 0830 the next day and told me to bring her in straight away.

"They ultra-sounded her and found a cavernous haemangioma, an overgrowth of blood vessels, which was treated with steroids.

"Within 12 hours it started to shrink," said Mrs Baxter. "It was unbelievable.

"They said Matilda was very lucky because the tumour grows very quickly and can lead to permanent eye damage and blindness."

The BSG said it was pleased to be able to help.

A spokeswoman said: "Birthmarks can have sinister implications."

Matilda's story can be seen on The World According to Google on BBC2 on Friday 20 January at 1900GMT.

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