Detect childhood eye cancer with your smart phone
Spotting the signs of cancer early can sometimes mean the difference between life and death.
While there are some symptoms that are more widely known, others can be more unusual.
This is the case with a rare type of eye cancer that starts in the retina.
Roshni Patel, optometrist at Lenstore, spoke exclusively with Express.co.uk to explain more.
She warned that a “white reflection” in the eye when taking a photograph could be a sign of retinoblastoma.
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Ms Patel explained: “This type of eye cancer that starts in the retina and is seen in young children mostly.
“As this usually presents in the younger population, symptoms can be hard to define but the most common signs are; a white reflection (rather than red) from the pupil after flash photography and a turn in direction of the affected eye and reduced vision.
“Although the latter may be hard to be communicated by a child, a way to notice this is if the child keeps rubbing their eye (affected eye) or becomes distressed when their good eye is covered.”
While retinoblastoma is more common in children, it can also affect people of any age, the NHS says.
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As well as the symptoms highlighted by Ms Patel, the NHS urges you to be wary of:
- The eyes pointing in a different direction (squint)
- The coloured part of the eye (iris) changing colour
- Swelling around the eye
- Uncontrolled eye movements
- Pain in one or both eyes.
The health body adds: “Retinoblastoma can affect one or both eyes.
“The main symptom is a white glow or white reflection in the centre of the eye (pupil).
“You may be able to see it from just looking at the eye, or you may see it in low light or in photos where a flash has been used.”
If you notice any of the symptoms in someone you should seek medical help.
Ms Patel said: “Should you suspect anything is wrong with your child’s eye, do not hesitate to book them an appointment with the optician or GP as soon as possible.”
She also warned of a type of eye cancer known as choroidal melanomas.
“These usually occur at the back of the eye on the choroid, which lies behind the retina,” she said.
“In some cases, there may be no symptoms, depending on its location.
“However, reduced vision and flashing lights and floaters are usually the most common red flags.
“These symptoms are also common in conditions such as retinal detachments, which is also very serious.
“Either way, go and see your optician as soon as possible. Melanomas can also occur in other parts of the eye such as the conjunctiva (front of the eye) and optic nerve.”
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