When Julie Fitzgerald, an Illinois mom, looked at her 2-year-old son’s eye in the light, she thought she noticed something towards the back of his eye. Fitzgerald decided to do some additional research on the web. Through her investigation, she learned about a rare form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma in which an eye affected with the disease will glow white in photos.
This spurred Fitzgerald to immediately take photos of her son’s eye with her cellphone camera, and it’s a good thing she did.
“His whole pupil was just white, and that’s when I knew,” Fitzgerald told local TV station WREX.
After taking her son to the doctor, she learned he had tumors covering 75 percent of his eye – all caused by this rare eye cancer.
Usually occurring in children younger than 5 years, retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that forms in the retina. It is a life-threatening disease, but in most cases, a child’s eyesight and life can be saved if diagnosed and treated early. Only 250 to 350 children in the U.S. are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year.
In the case of Fitzgerald’s son, doctors worked quickly to remove her son’s eye before the cancer spread.
Photo Credit: National Cancer Institute