Know the Glow: Your Eyes Can Detect Rare Childhood Cancer

In October of 2015, mom Leslie Abbott started to notice a strange glow in her baby son Parker’s eye. Parker was only six months old at the time and Leslie was not sure what to think about the odd glow she was saying during every day activities. tells the story of how the concerned mom took her son to the doctor, and received some shocking news.

The doctors informed Leslie that Parker’s retina was completely detached in his left eye. He was blind in that eye. This detachment was caused by both the fluid buildup behind the eye and a mass that created pressure on the retina.

The only word Leslie heard was “mass.”  Being a licensed vocational nurse, Leslie knew that meant cancer.

Parker was soon diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a childhood cancer that can cause blindness and death if it is not soon treated. Because Leslie saw the glow in Parker’s eye and had it checked out immediately, she most likely saved both her son’s eyesight and his life. Though only 25% of cases affect both eyes, this was the case with Parker, and he has since lost his left eye to ensure that the cancer does not spread to his brain.

Retinoblastoma does not have to be fatal or cause blindness

Retinoblastoma is actually one of the leading causes of childhood blindness, a condition Know the Glow was founded to prevent. When retinoblastoma is diagnosed and treated early enough, both the child’s life and their eyesight can usually be saved, so Know the Glow is asking all parents to be aware of the signs of retinoblastoma, especially that telltale glow.

Here are some ways Know the Glow suggest parents take action to prevent childhood blindness: in addition to watching out for “a consistent white, opaque or yellow spot in the pupil of the eye that appears in photos taken with flash may indicate at least 20 different eye diseases and conditions, we’re asking parents to:

Jenny Rapson
Jenny Rapson
Jenny is a follower of Christ, a wife and mom of three from Ohio and a freelance writer and editor.

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