Maybe this is a shot in the dark. I am trying every way I can to let people know about a photographic phenomenon called the "white eye". This phenomenon, instead of the typical "red eye", is a tell-tale sign of serious eye disease!
I have made up an 8x11 inch flyer that demonstrates this and would like to place it at all photography businesses to alert people about this sign, so that they would seek immediate medical attention, should their child's photograph show this sign.
My grandson (DOB 1/25/05) lost his left eye at 12 weeks of age because of Retinoblastoma. As the grandmother of a baby boy who has just lost his left eye to cancer at just 12 weeks of age, I will work very hard to try to convince Congress to pass an Infant Eye Care Bill which, will mandate pediatricians to use an opthalmoscope to examine infants' and children's eyes in the nursery and at well baby visits.
The eyes are examined using eye dilating drops, in a darkened room with an opthalmoscope.
Essentially, this bill would promote a quick, inexpensive screening test which is highly effective and can be done by non-opthalmologists to avoid the devastating effects of late diagnosis of eye disease in infants and children.
One in every 677 births in America has a treatable eye disease that will blind if not detected early and treated. One in 12,000 children in the United States is affected by retinoblastoma, which will kill if not detected early and treated promptly.
While I realize that my grandson's condition, Retinoblastoma, is so rare that "most pediatricians will never see this in their practice", to quote one web site, I feel not doing this type of exam makes that a certainty, because the afflicted child would have moved on to the opthalmologic and oncologic branch of medicine and never returned......(why go back to a pediatrician that missed such an important diagnosis?)
I have been nurse for 38 years and, even though I worked for a time in both Nursery and in Pediatrics, I had never heard of the "white eye" reflection in children's photos being a signal of eye disease. Nor was I aware of the need for this pediatric opthalmoscopic exam in the nursery and well child visits. My own children did not have an opthalmologic exam until they were in about 3rd grade in school.
Whether or not an Infant Eye Care Bill (one in Florida, USA, is nicknamed "Joey's Bill", for Joey Bergsma, a child who lost his life to this disease) passed to mandate these exams, I would hope that it does become a standard of care. For my part, I will try as much as possible to educate the public to demand these exams for their babies children. I would hope that students of medicine would be taught the importance of this vigilance.
Thank you for giving this note your kind consideration.
"Granny" Sheila Young
7831 W. 157th Street
Orland Park, Illinois, 60462
More information is available from:
Pam Bergsma (Joey's grandma)
619 South K St.
Lake Worth, Fl. 33460