Twin babies have undergone eyesight-saving surgery after their mother noticed cataracts in photographs she took of them.
Danielle Wilkins, 31, of Far Rockaway, New York, noticed that her son's and daughter's eyes weren't tracking correctly and started paying close attention to their vision.
When she took a photograph of them in early spring 2021, she noticed white areas around their pupils and immediately determined that they had cataracts.
Wilkins took the photo to a pediatrician and, after being somewhat dismissed, demanded that she be referred to an eye specialist.
The twins has surgery in April and May to remove their cataracts and Wilkins has been credited with saving their eyesight.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
She told DailyMail.com that she wants to raise awareness, not only about the fact that children can get cataracts but to also be your own advocate if or when medical professionals brush you off.
Danielle Wilkins, 31, of Far Rockaway, New York, is credited with saving the eyesight of her twins, Dy-Niya (left) and Dy-Sir (right) Sanford
Wilkins noticed cloudiness covering the pupils of the eyes in the photos she took (left and right). She suspected her son and daughter had cataracts, having had them herself and seeing them in her older son, Da-rell, years earlier
Cataracts are the clouding of the natural lens of the eyes, which are normally clear, like looking through a foggy window.
In children, some cataracts are small and don't cause any vision problems while others are large and do cause issues.
If left untreated, cataracts can lead to total blindness.
Wilkins told DailyMail.com that she has some experience with cataracts because she had them herself as a baby.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
'A family friend noticed something was wrong,' she said.
'She told my mom: "Something is wrong with that baby's eyes." So my mom made an appointment with the doctor and they told her: :We need to do surgery."'
Wilkins was between two and three months old when she had her cataracts removed, but she wasn't even aware of the operation until years later when her mother told her.
But her dealings with cataracts would come back sooner than she expected when gave birth to her son, Da-rell, in 2008.
'I knew about my cataracts so I asked the first doctor at the hospital if [my son] had [cataracts] and he said he had it,' she said.
After being initially dismissed over her twins' vision, Wilkins demanded a referral and was sent to New York Eye & Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai. Pictured: Wilkins holding one of her twins shortly after they were
'But then I asked a second doctor and he said [my son] didn't have them.'
Wilkins spent several years going to different doctors trying to get a definitive answer on whether or not Da-rell had cataracts.
Some doctors told her her son had them, some said he didn't have them and others said they weren't sure.
'It became frustrating - I had to take a break from going to the doctor,' she said.
'How can I know what they are? I was a baby myself when I had them. I wanted to educate myself so I read everything about them that I could.'
Finally, when Da-rell was five years old, he was referred to New York Eye & Ear Infirmary, where it was confirmed that he did in fact have cataracts.
'And they were progressing rapidly. He had 20/80 vision in one eye and 20/100 in another eye,' Wilkins said, referring to the term used to express visions sharpness.
This means that her son standing twenty feet away could only letters most people see from 80 or 100 feet away.
Wilkins added: 'I was told that if I didn't take him in when I had, he could have been blind.'
Da-rell had the cataracts removed from his right eye at age five and from his left eye at age six.
Doctors at the center confirmed that Dy-Sir and Dy-Niya had cataracts and performed surgery to remove them. Pictured, left to right: Wilkins's teenage son Da-rell, baby daughter Dy-Niya, baby son Dy-Sir, and Wilkins
Wilkins thought she was