A high-tech eye camera which specialists at York District Hospital want to help them battle against blindness proved its worth when it identified four people who need sight tests.

The digital retinal camera was being demonstrated at the launch of a three-year campaign by York's three Lions' clubs to warn of the dangers of glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.

The clubs have pledged to help raise the £17,000 needed to buy the portable camera and accompanying laptop computer, which will improve the hospital's diagnosis of eye problems and be particularly useful for examining small children.

The uses of the camera were being shown off by its manufacturers at the Lions' Eye Health programme event in the St Sampson's Centre, St Sampson's Square, York.

But Lions' spokesman Gordon Harrison said even though it was only meant as a demonstration, the camera picked up possible problems for four visitors to the event, who had been advised to go for further tests.

Mr Harrison understood one of them may have a detached retina. He added: "To think we were only making the public aware of what we were doing, and we alerted these four people to a problem they were wholly unaware of."

The event also got the camera fundraising off to a flying start, with £810 raised towards its cost.

The Lions are to sell special lapel badges, which will be available at £1 a time from March 17. All the cash raised from selling them will go towards buying the camera, and the badges will have attached to them a list of the three eye tests needed from optometrists to warn against the onset of glaucoma and diabetic eye disease.

Anyone who can help sell the badges, particularly retail outlets, should contact Marilyn Bennett on 01904 705044.