Such children are at the highest risk of eye cancer, Dr. told about prevention and treatment

Ananya Shroff
4 Min Read

Eye cancer in children can be a serious and often overlooked disease. Eye cancer, especially retinoblastoma, profoundly affects the lives of children and their families. A diagnosis of eye cancer can bring a sense of stress in addition to physical symptoms and discomfort. Children may experience pain, vision problems, and disruption to their daily activities, such as school and play.

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Dr Sudipto Pakrasi, Chairman, Ophthalmology, Medanta, Gurugram According to WHO, the long-term effects of eye cancer include possible vision loss or deformity, which can affect the child's development and quality of life. Therefore, holistic child care, including psychological support and rehabilitation services, is very important. This can improve the child's life and promote their well-being.

Prevalence of eye cancer in children
Although eye cancer is relatively rare in children compared to adults, it can still occur. In India, statistics show that eye cancer, particularly retinoblastoma, is one of the most common childhood cancers. Retinoblastoma accounts for about 2-3% of all childhood cancers worldwide, with about 1,500 new cases reported in India every year.

Understanding Retinoblastoma
Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children, usually occurring in the retina – the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye. It often appears as a white pupil reflex, commonly called “cat's eye reflex” or “white eye,” which appears in flash photos. Other symptoms may include eye pain, redness, swelling, or vision problems.

Risk Factors For Eye Cancer In Children
Although the exact cause of eye cancer in children is not fully understood, certain risk factors may increase the chance of developing it. These risk factors include genetic predisposition, such as a family history of retinoblastoma, and certain genetic mutations. In addition, premature or low-birth-weight babies may have a higher risk of developing retinoblastoma.

Preventive Measures
Early detection and prompt treatment are key to managing eye cancer in children. Parents and caregivers should pay attention to signs or symptoms of any eye abnormality, such as a change in pupil shape or a white reflection in the eye. Regular eye exams by a pediatrician or ophthalmologist can help identify retinoblastoma and other eye problems.

treatment options
Management of eye cancer in children often involves a multidisciplinary approach, involving pediatricians, ophthalmologists, and other health professionals. Treatment options vary depending on the extent and severity of the cancer, but may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy, cryotherapy, or removal of the affected eye (enucleation). Treatment is selected according to each individual case, taking into account factors such as the child's age, overall health, and stage of cancer.

Eye cancer in children, especially retinoblastoma, presents significant challenges, but early detection and appropriate treatment can lead to a favorable prognosis. Raising awareness among parents, caregivers, and healthcare providers is essential for timely diagnosis and intervention. By understanding risk factors, recognizing symptoms, and prioritizing preventive measures, we can work towards better outcomes for children affected by eye cancer in India and beyond.

Disclaimer: This article is for general information only. It cannot in any way be a substitute for any medicine or treatment. Always consult your doctor for more information.

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