If your child has a white glow or a white reflex in his eyeball,it should alarm you. As the doctors at the Advanced Eye Centre (AEC),Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER),warn that this could be a sign and the child might be suffering from retinoblastoma,a rare eye cancer.
In fact,a sudden squint in the eye,or an enlargement of one eye than the other could also be early signs,which can later progress into retinoblastoma.
To create awareness about the disease,AEC is organising a Retinoblastoma Awareness Day on May 12,with the theme Know the Glow.
If you see these symptoms in your children,especially those below the age of five,the child must be taken to an ophthalmologist, says Dr Usha Singh of AEC who runs the retinoblastoma clinic.
One of the biggest problems that we face is that by the time these cases come to us,the cancer has already reached the advanced stages and the cancer even gets spread behind the eye. This leaves us with no choice but to remove the eye. On the contrary,if the case is diagnosed early,the rate of recovery is over 90 per cent. Using lasers and chemotherapy,the tumors can be destroyed and normal eye vision can be restored easily, says Dr Deepak Bansal,a paediatrician at PGIMER,who along with his team of experts are working closely on the cases of retinoblastoma in terms of providing radiotheraphy.
Incidentally,there are only about a dozen doctors in the country who specialise in this field as a whole set-up including a paediatrics centre,an advanced eye care centre is required,adds Dr Bansal.
At PGIMER,over 650 cases are already registered and there is an addition of 50 cases annually.
Due to lack of awareness in 50 per cent of cases,the cancer is spread already behind the eye and,as a result,we advise the parents to get the eye removed, adds Dr Usha Singh.