New Delhi: With a dedicated aim/effort to raise and spread awareness about eye cancers affectingchildren and the recent advances in the field of eye cancer management (ocular oncology), India’s leading eye hospital chain, Centre for Sight group of Hospitals organized a walkathon in the capital.
On the occasion of World Cancer day, Centre for Sight and Womenite in collaboration with Department of Human Development & Family Empowerment (HDFE) organized a public awareness campaign on ‘Eye Cancer in Children’. However, this has not happened overnight. A sensitization project on retinoblastoma began in November 2017 as a student faculty initiative where the students linked themselves to the immunization program in the health centers. They created awareness on Screening with a smart phone.
The campaign had students, faculty, oncologists, ophthalmologists and a Retinoblastoma survivor. This project was conceptualised by Nirmala Muralidhar (Project coordinator) with the guidance of Dr. Santosh G Honavar & Dr.Vikas Menon.
“Awareness initiatives such as the ‘Stride for Retinoblastoma Awareness’ reinforce the need to involve the general population to participate in safeguarding their child’s eye health by getting a comprehensive eye examination every year. Even as technological advancements continue to improve outcomes of treatment- the challenge only remains in making it accessible to all. Through this opportunity we would like to sensitize the entire community that the tumor is potentially curable if diagnosed timely. With ocular oncology taking giant strides, timely detection can not only cure the tumor but also restores vision in the eye.” Said Dr Padamshree Awardee Dr Mahipal Sachdev, Chairman and Medical Director, Centre for Sight group of hospitals.
Retinoblastoma is the most common type of eye cancer in children worldwide. India adds more than 1500 cases to the global pool annually. Usually children less than 5 years of age are affected. The common presentations are white eye reflex (white pupil/ leukocoria), abnormal deviation of the eye (squint), poor vision, painful red eye and protruding eyeball. This tumor can be passed on from the parent to child in about 40% cases (heritable), so genetic screening is also important in retinoblastoma. The management of retinoblastoma has come a long way from its inception. The focus has shifted from saving life to saving the eye and now saving the vision in the present day world.
Timely diagnosis is the key. Centre for Sight group, being the leading eye care provider has been pioneering in the field of ocular oncology and has successfully treated many children with retinoblastoma.
“People need to be aware of the condition, to easily identify and detect the initial symptoms. If a patient sees white reflex in the cornea, it is advised to immediately consult a specialist. Parents are requested to closely monitor their child’s vision and undergo regular checkups.” Added Dr Mahipal.