New Hope for Detecting Retinoblastoma in Low-Income Families

When it comes to detecting eye issues such as pediatric retinoblastoma early, low income children tend to be at a disadvantage compared to children born into affluence. The disparity between affluent children and low income children born in underdeveloped countries is even worse. Fortunately, an innovative app is helping to detect the rare cancer – as well as other eye conditions – and saving the vision and lives of lower income children around the world.

Obstacles to Eye Care for Low Income Children

An app that can be used to detect pediatric retinoblastoma and other serious eye conditions in children is effective in getting around a few of the obstacles to early detection that children in lower income families face. Transportation issues and doctor visit costs may prevent lower income families from seeing an eye care professional. Since the app is free, parents can use the app to determine whether a trip to a specialist is needed before footing the bill.

About the Retinoblastoma App

The app that can be used to detect pediatric retinoblastoma is called CRADLE. The app works by analyzing pictures in a smartphone and comparing the eyes in the pictures to many other pictures of eyes in order to assess health. The app was developed by a professor named Bryan Shaw after his son received a late diagnosis of pediatric retinoblastoma that cost him an eye.

Smartphone Use and Lower Income Families

According to Pew Research Center, smartphone use among U.S. families earning $30,000 or less per year skyrocketed to 64 percent as of January 2017. Smartphone ownership in developing countries has also been rising quickly, with many countries approaching the same percentages of smartphone owners as developed nations. This widespread and growing smartphone use helps to put apps like CRADLE into the hands of those who need them most.

How the App Can Help the Disadvantaged

In the United States, the cure rate for pediatric retinoblastoma is about 94 percent, but many children in lower income families lose their vision or their eyes due to later detection of the deadly disease. In some developing nations, the cure rate is less than 30 percent. The CRADLE app can help with early detection that can save lives and help to mitigate the need for invasive or intensive treatment that damages eyes and vision.

By using the free app to analyze pictures regularly, parents around the world can spot potential eye problems in very early stages. This can give disadvantaged families the time needed to seek medical treatment, particularly in remote areas where it may not be easy to get to a doctor.

Get the CRADLE App

You can now find the CRADLE app in both iTunes and Google Play.