The Countess of Wessex has revealed that her daughter's eye condition gave her reason to campaign for the blind and visually impaired. Her eldest child Lady Louise Windsor was born prematurely which resulted in the schoolgirl developing early sight problems – something that Sophie described as a "profound squint".
Speaking to mark World Sight Day last week, the Countess explained that her daughter used to suffer from strabismus, a condition whereby a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously, but that Louise has perfect sight now.
"Premature babies can often have squints because the eyes are the last thing in the baby package to really be finalised," Sophie told The Sunday Express.
"She's fine now – her eyesight is perfect," Sophie said of her daughter's eye condition
"Her squint was quite profound when she was tiny and it takes time to correct it. You've got to make sure one eye doesn't become more dominant than the other but she's fine now – her eyesight is perfect."
Prince Edward's wife gave birth prematurely to her daughter in November 2003. She had to have an emergency caesarean section, while her husband rushed back from Mauritius and ended up missing the quick birth.
Sophie, 50, was sharing her personal experiences during a visit to Qatar with blindness prevention charity, Orbis UK. She explained that Louise's squint was corrected because it was "cosmetically awkward" for her and that her daughter's condition led her to support people around the world with similar problems.
Sophie is patron of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, and the royal is also a global ambassador for Vision 2020, a worldwide initiative aiming to eliminate avoidable blindness over the next five years.
Lady Louise Windsor, 11, suffered from strabismus, a condition whereby a person cannot align both eyes simultaneously
During a gala dinner last week, the Countess, who has supported projects for visually impaired people in Tanzania, Bangladesh and India, said: "I have seen sight being restored and I can promise you there are few things more rewarding in this world than seeing someone step from the dark into the light."
Sophie and Prince Edward married in June 1999 and welcomed their first child three years later. The couple are also parents to seven-year-old James, Viscount Severn.
Last year HELLO! magazine exclusively learnt that Louise had undergone successful eye surgery to correct her squint.
Royal watchers first noticed the difference in Louise's appearance when she accompanied her parents for a day's racing at Royal Ascot in December 2013. Likewise, well-wishers who greeted the royal family outside Sandringham's St Mary Magdalene Church on Christmas morning noted the change.