A GRANDFATHER is recovering after almost being blinded in one eye when his grandson accidentally shot him with a toy gun.

Ian Nicholls, of Carnforth, was visiting his daughter's family when he was hit with a children's shooter that fires foam darts.

Despite having to hide his pain from his three-year-old grandson Teddy Heywood, Mr Nicholls said he feared the worst.

He was hastily referred to a local opticians by his GP surgery where they managed to treat his eye and prevent it from getting worse.

Philip Jones, of Philip Jones Opticians in Carnforth, diagnosed Mr Nicholls with traumatic uveitis, inflammation of the front portion of the eye, a potentially sight threatening condition with serious complications if not treated quickly.

Mr Nicholls, 61, said his grandson had just returned from a trip to Blackpool with his family to celebrate his third birthday.

"Teddy was just too excited to show me what he got for his birthday," said the lorry driver. "And then all of a sudden the gun went off and it was pretty painful.

"I was trying not to scare my grandson too much, as I did shout and started to roll around on the floor so I tried to quickly turn the situation around and make it seem like it was harmless.

"But then my eye worsened overnight and the pain got a bit much. It sounds silly as it's only a little foam bullet and a children's toy but it was just unfortunate that Teddy got a bullseye."

Mr Nicholls narrowly avoided a trip to the hospital thanks to the treatment he received from Mr Jones, the first optometrist in the Morecambe Bay area to qualify as an independent prescriber.

The optometrist is now raising awareness of a Minor Eye Conditions Service (MECS), a vital eye care service which treats conditions that do not necessarily need specialist hospital examinations, including mild trauma and red eyes.

"We were delighted to be able to offer prompt, appropriate care to ensure treatment was as successful as possible," said Mr Jones. "We hope that this highlights the key role the Minor Eye Conditions Service plays in local eye care and that more people will be aware of its availability should they ever need it.”

"I'm just very grateful for the service," continued Mr Nicholls, "The staff were just wonderful and the treatment I received was excellent.

"I was scared that if my eyesight got worse then I would have lost my driving license and therefore my job.

"It just shows how quickly things can deteriorate from just a small accident like that.

"But all's well that ends well now."

Royal Society for Prevention of Accident (RoSPA) said when buying toys, customers need to make sure they are age-appropriate for the child and that they are bought from reputable retailers.

This comes after RoSPA recorded that more than 40,000 accidents happen each year across the country due to toys.