This is a great example of how the tools of social media can have very significant real-world positive effects.
Retinoblastoma is a very serious eye cancer. It only affects children. This is because its kills everyone who has it by five years of age. Because the eyes are connected directly with the brain, the cancer takes over the eye, then the brain and continues to spread until the victim dies.
Surprisingly, most retinobastoma is not found by a pediatrician or eye doctor, but by a friend or family member who sees something wrong with the child's eyes. Usually this is either a white-look pupil or an eye turn.
Recently the Daily Mail newspaper in England reported this exact scenario: A friend did see a problem with 2 year old Grace's eyes. It turned out to be retinoblastoma, which was successfully treated. But here is the twist: the friend, a nurse, saw the problem via a photo on Facebook.
In addition to the fantastic result for Grace, there are two other points here. The first is that social media will continue to help improve education and medical care over time and this is an early example. The second is that thorough, early eye exams are a good idea. The American Optometric Association recommends exams at 6 months of age, three years of age, and before kindergarten. The InfantSEE program supports this by providing no-cost eye exams to patients between the ages of 6 and 12 months.
If you have a young child, be sure to schedule an appointment with your optometrist. You never know what problems might be found.
Nathan Bonilla-Warford, OD
Bright Eyes Family Vision Care
Located in the Westchase area of Tampa.