Don’t ignore that white spot in the eye

When three-year-old Shami developed a fungal mass protruding from his right eye, his parents took him to the hospital. They didn’t realize that the white reflex in his right eye, which first appeared when he was five months old, was the root of this blinding problem. Siddiqsha’s parents noticed a squint in her right eye when she was three years old, but thought it was normal and never consulted a doctor. Neither parent realized that the white aberration or reflection were early signs of retinoblastoma or ocular cancer, which is increasingly common in children.

“Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children, affecting approximately 1,500-2,000 of them annually, accounting for nearly a quarter of the world’s disease burden,” says Dr. Sima Das, Chief Ophthalmic Surgical and Oncology Services, Division of Responsible Medical Education. , Dr. Shroff Charitable Eye Hospital: “But with timely diagnosis and prompt treatment, more than 95 percent of these children are cured.” She treated both children. Al Shami had to undergo several cycles of chemotherapy, surgery, radiotherapy, and laser therapy. Siddikka has to lose one of her eyes because she underwent an enucleation.Four weeks later, she was given a custom prosthetic eye so she could resume her routine activities.Unfortunately, children with advanced tumors need to have the eye removed but with proper prosthetic rehabilitation, they can socialize with their peers more often. normal in school.

How often does retinoblastoma affect children?

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children that affects the retina. One in 15,000-18,000 children is likely to be affected by it. Children with a family history of this cancer or an affected sibling have a 50 percent chance of developing retinoblastoma.

What is the age group most susceptible to infection?

Children under the age of five are usually the most vulnerable. This rarely affects older children. It is unusual to find this cancer in adults.

How can you heal?

With early and timely diagnosis, it is possible to completely cure this cancer. If left untreated, this cancer can turn fatal. In the early stages, this cancer is usually treated with laser and chemotherapy, saving most children’s lives, eyes, and eyesight. Advanced stages need extensive treatments such as surgery. Unfortunately, this involves removing the eye with loss of vision. Newer treatment methods such as intra-arterial chemotherapy and plaque brachytherapy can save the eyes of children with advanced cancer.

What are the stages?

Retinoblastoma usually begins as a small tumor in the retina and grows in size fairly quickly to damage the eye and vision if left undetected. In the early stages, the tumor remains confined to the eye and is completely treatable. If left untreated, the tumor can spread to other parts of the body such as the brain, bones, and lymph nodes.

Can you explain the care protocol?

Retinoblastoma can be easily diagnosed by an eye specialist with a routine examination of the retina. The first symptom of this cancer is a white glow in the eye and any child who has a white reaction in the pupil should consult a specialist. Sometimes squinting eyes or double vision can also be early signs. Retinoblastoma is treated by an eye cancer specialist, who may perform a detailed examination by sedating the child. Other investigations such as MRI scans and ultrasounds are also done. Children who need chemotherapy will be evaluated by a pediatric oncologist. Surgery is recommended in advanced stages apart from intra-arterial chemotherapy and plaque brachytherapy.

How would you explain this cancer to a normal person?

A white or reflected glow in a child’s eye is usually the first sign of this cancer. Sometimes this white reflex can be seen in images. In the early stages, this cancer can be asymptomatic except for this white glow. Hence, parents or caregivers should contact an eye specialist immediately. This cancer is completely curable if caught in time. Even after treatment is complete, it is essential to have a periodic check-up with an eye cancer specialist to avoid a recurrence. The chances of the tumor coming back decrease dramatically as the child gets older.

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