Can a Camera Help Catch Retinoblastoma?

No matter where you’re from across the globe, photographs likely hold a special significance for you and your family. While they’re an ideal way to capture moments and create lasting memories, they can also be unexpectedly life-saving. Research shows that digital photos of children can help parents to spot a key symptom of pediatric retinoblastoma called leukocoria, or “white eye.” Learn more about this important sign, the research surrounding it, and how you can help protect your children by snapping a picture.

What Is Leukocoria?

Leukocoria, also called white pupillary reflex, is a white reflection that shows in the retina of the eye. Leukocoria is caused by a number of conditions, such as retinoblastoma, cataracts, retinal detachment, retinal malformation, and more. It resembles “eyeshine,” the phenomenon that occurs in cats and other animals that have an eye structure called tapetum lucidum, which causes the appearance of glowing when photographed with a flash setting on the camera. Because humans lack a tapetum lucidum, a white reflection in the eyes of a photograph is an unusual occurrence that often indicates that something is wrong.

Study Results

In 2013, Harvard University and Baylor University teamed up to study white eyes and pediatric retinoblastoma. They looked at 7,000 photos of children who did and didn’t have the condition. Not only could they use white eye to indicate that the children had a tumor, they could also predict the severity and stage of the condition. The researchers explained that the saturation of the pupil’s reflection changes depending on the tumor’s size.

An Effective Form of Detection

Pediatric retinoblastoma can be difficult to detect and diagnose. Coupled with the need for the condition to be diagnosed and treated as early as possible, it’s important for parents to stay vigilant and ensure that they’re looking out for any signs possible. Fortunately, looking for white eye in photographs has been labeled by researchers as one of the most effective “do-it-yourself” diagnostic techniques for showing signs of the condition. In fact, with this knowledge becoming more widespread, specialists are finding that the majority of pediatric retinoblastoma cases have been initiated by parents spotting leukocoria and scheduling an eye exam for their children.

Early detection is the best protection against the potentially devastating effects of pediatric retinoblastoma. However, for those who feel that their children have suffered unnecessarily due to malpractice, please call us today at 407-244-3000 to discuss your legal options.