L V Prasad Eye Institute to observe 8th World Retinoblastoma awareness week

Our Bureau, MumbaiThursday, May 7, 2015, 16:30 Hrs  [IST]

To create awareness about the most common childhood eye cancer, Retinoblastoma, L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) will observe 8th World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week from May 10 to 16.

Retinoblastoma affects children between the age group of 0-5 years. It is the most common type of childhood eye cancer affecting one in 15,000 to 18,000 live births and its causes can be both hereditary and non-hereditary. Almost 90 per cent of children with retinoblastoma are diagnosed before 5 years of age.

Over 8000 new cases of retinoblastoma are detected every year worldwide, with over 1000 new cases in India. LVPEI treats about 150 to 200 cases every year, of which 5 to 10 per cent are in late stages. Retinoblastoma is curable if the tumour is detected early. Early diagnosis can help save the eye through chemotherapy and focal treatment, thus saving the life, eye, and the vision of the child.  

Dr Swathi Kaliki, consultant ocular oncologist, L V Prasad Eye Institute said, “Over the past decade, we have treated more than 1500 patients with Retinoblastoma eye cancer, a majority of them being children. We intend to reach out to more people, increase capacity, and build new technologies and new research. The aim is to provide best possible holistic clinical care and cutting-edge treatment to the patients with retinoblastoma.”

Dr Vijay Anand Reddy, consultant oncologist, LV Prasad Eye Institute, said one third of the patients can get  retinoblastoma in the second eye and parents need to be on look out for any symptoms at least till the age of 4-5 years. Retinoblastoma if detected early can be cured completely, but in advanced stages life can be saved but chances of salvaging the eye is bleak, he said.

It is imperative that the parent or caregiver immediately get their baby’s eyes checked by an eye doctor, if any one of the symptoms listed below are noticed -  white reflex (shining eyes); squinting eyes; red, sore or swollen eye without infection; change in colour of the iris (the coloured part of the eye); deterioration of vision.

Retinoblastoma involves one eye in 60 per cent cases, and involves both eyes in the remaining 40 per cent. Family history of retinoblastoma is present in 10 per cent cases, and is sporadic in 90 per cent cases. The siblings of children with retinoblastoma are also at risk of developing the disease, and thus routine eye screening of siblings is recommended.