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Retinoblastoma Awareness Week 2015 at L V Prasad Eye Institute

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We dedicate the 2nd week in the month of May every year to create awareness about the most common childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma. This year we celebrate May 10th to 16th as the 8th World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week to bring public focus on this eye disease that affects children between the age group of 0-5 years. Retinoblastoma 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% are in late stages. Retinoblastoma is curable if the tumor 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.

As part of the Institute’s vision for the next 25 years, an “Institute for Eye cancer” is now established at L V Prasad Eye Institute. 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 -
ü A white reflex (shining eyes)
ü Squinting eyes
ü Red, sore or swollen eye without infection
ü A change in colour of the iris (the coloured part of the eye)
ü Deterioration of vision

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

Two children who are undergoing treatment with their parents were present on the occasion. The 3 & 1/2 year old Fathima child from Lahore in Pakistan undergoing treatment came with her parents Namika and Farooq Rashid. 2 & 1/2 year Raunak Prajapathi was accompanied by his parents Aaarthi and Rajesh from Kolkatta.

About L V Prasad Eye Institute L The L V Prasad Eye Institute provides high quality comprehensive eye care to all people; provides sight enhancement and rehabilitation services at the Institute and through its rural eye health network; offers professional ophthalmic training at all levels; and conducts cutting-edge eye care research. The Institute is a World Health Organization (WHO) Center for the Prevention of Blindness and a Global Resource Center for VISION 2020, a worldwide initiative for the elimination of avoidable blindness led by WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. For further information, visit the Institute’s website, www.lvpei.org
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