Sankara Nethralaya launched a retinoblastoma awareness week on Monday. Doctors from various specialities who treat the condition participated in the event.
Retinoblastoma is childhood eye cancer and is termed the white monster in children’s eyes. An alteration of red reflex or asymmetrical red reflex or white reflex in the centre of an eye or both eyes, seen while taking a picture, is an alarming sign of eye cancer called retinoblastoma.
Commonly seen in children aged under three, if identified early, the cure rate is around 90%-95%. Affected children are treated with chemotherapy followed by laser that helps save the eye and sight to some extent.
It is commonly seen in children aged under three. Around 15,000 children suffer from the disease and come in advanced stages when it can spread to the brain and then to other organs leading to loss of life.
Ophthalmologists call for annual eye exams for children and urge children from families with retinoblastoma to undergo genetic evaluation and have follow-up visits regularly for any development of tumours.
Suganeswari Ganesan, who heads the ocular oncology division in Sankara Nethralaya, said there was a steady rise in retinoblasoma every year. In 2022, 250 children with retinoblastoma were identified and treated at the hospital, she said.
At Monday’s event a team of doctors, called the retinoblastoma warriors from various specialities, including ocular oncology, pediatrics, pediatric oncology, interventional radiologist and radiation oncologist, participated.
The aim of the campaign is to support families and spread awareness to detect white reflex early and save life, eyes and sight.
Doctors say white reflex in the eye, squinting, bulging eye or red eye should raise red flag signs.