Child’s Eye Cancer Illustrates Need for Early Diagnosis

Parents can help to prevent a child’s delayed cancer diagnosis by recognizing the early warning signs of cancer.

As a recent article illustrates, picking up in small changes in your child could play a major role in making sure that your child receives a timely diagnosis and begins necessary treatment – although that treatment, itself, may present many financial challenges.

The article discusses Ryu Okumura-Haas, a child diagnosed with retinoblastoma in 2015. The article describes the condition as “the most common malignant cancer of the eye in children.”

As the child’s mother explains, she sought medical attention when she detected a “strange glint” in her child’s left eye, which showed up in a flash photo that she took of the young boy.

That “strange glint” was one of the early warning signs of retinoblastoma. Unfortunately, by the time of his diagnosis, doctors estimated that Ryu had been “blind in that eye for at least two years,” according to the article.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Child Cancer?

If cancer is caught early enough, the disease can be treated and potentially save the child’s life. But how do you know what signs to look out for in your child?

The American Cancer Society (ACS) provides an exhaustive list of different types of cancer. It also explains in detail the different signs and symptoms of each disease. As a parent, this website serves as an excellent source of information.

For instance, for retinoblastoma, the ACS states that one of the main signs is simply an “unusual” look in a child’s eye.

Other signs and symptoms of the disease include:

  • White pupillary reflex (or, when the pupil appears white or pink upon being illuminated with a light), which can appear as the “strange glint” detected in the photo of Ryu
    Lazy eye (or, when eyes do not appear to be looking in the same direction)
  • Vision problems
  • Eye pain
  • Redness in the white part of the eye
  • Bleeding in the front part of the child’s eye
  • Bulging eye
  • Pupil that does not get smaller when it is exposed to a bright light
  • Different color in each iris of the child’s eye.

If you detect something “unusual” about your child’s condition, going to the ACS website is a start – but only a start. It is crucial to follow up on what you learn by going to your pediatrician, who may then refer your family to a specialist.

Treatment of a Child’s Cancer Can Be Costly

As the article underscores, cancer treatment can be extremely costly, from chemotherapy to post-treatment visits to the doctor.

In Ryu’s case, the cancer which originated in his retina metastasized, or spread. He needed to undergo surgery to remove the tumor.

Afterwards, Ryu began chemotherapy treatments, which required him to stay in the hospital through both Christmas and New Year’s Day.

His mother reported that Ryu’s birthday occurred soon after those holidays, and the young patient had to remain in the hospital for his birthday, as well.

Additionally, Ryu’s mother lost her job shortly after his diagnosis. When she lost her job, Ryu also lost his health insurance coverage. As a result, the mother paid for his chemotherapy and other related healthcare costs out-of-pocket.

Fortunately, Ryu’s community rallied around him. Many in the community helped to organize a fundraiser at a local church. The event managed to raise almost $30,000 toward the boy’s medical care.

Thankfully, when children and parents face the difficulties of dealing with cancer, they do not have to face them alone.

“He’s an amazing boy,” Ryu’s mother told the newspaper, “and despite the odds, he’s still fighting.”

It is inspiring to read that, in Ryu’s case, his community joined him in the battle.

5 Common Eye Problems Seniors Face

Aging eye problems are common. As we age, the eyes become more prone to deterioration, spots, floaters and dry eyes. Seniors face other conditions that cause ocular complications, too, including high blood pressure and diabetes.

Annual dilated exams are recommended for seniors over the age of 60.

Risks for common age-related eye conditions and diseases increase as we age. Even the ability to see in low light conditions is compromised, resulting in difficulty driving and potential trips and falls.

The five most common eye problems seniors face are:

1.     Cataracts

Cataracts can be corrected through surgery and are caused by the normal aging process. More than 200,000 cases of cataracts are diagnosed per year in the United States. This is a chronic, lifelong condition that causes blurry vision.

A person with cataracts will have the feeling of looking through a fogged-up or frosty window.

2.     Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a progressive eye disease that occurs over time without symptoms. A person has a 1% risk of glaucoma, while an 80-year-old has a 12% chance of getting glaucoma. This condition is caused by a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve.

Vision loss and blindness can occur over time.

Early detection and treatment can help protect a person’s eyes from serious vision loss.

3.     Dry Eyes

The National Eye Institute states that dry eyes are caused by the eye not producing tears properly. If tears evaporate too quickly or aren’t at the right consistency, a person’s eye surface becomes inflamed and worsens the problem.

If allowed to persist, ulcers, scars and pains can result.

Minor loss of vision can occur, too.

4.     Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration is a disease, often abbreviated as AMD. This is a gradual disease that destroys the sharpness of a person’s central vision. Difficulty seeing objects clearly is the most prominent symptom of AMD.

Proper reading aids can help eliminate squinting when reading or difficulty driving.

Treatment can help this chronic disease, but it can’t be cured. Surgery may be an option, but a combination of minerals and vitamins is often provided to slow the progression of the disease.

5.     Diabetic Retinopathy

Changes in the blood vessels of the retina cause diabetic retinopathy. This is the most common eye disease caused by diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness for American adults.

Changes in vision is the first sign of this condition.

If allowed to progress, loss of vision can occur. Both eyes can be affected. Proper blood sugar control allows the onset and progression of diabetic retinopathy to be slowed.

People over 60 can help prevent and slow many of the eye conditions discussed. The following preventative measures can help save your eyesight if you’re reaching or over 60:

  • Reduce the risk of falling. Half of eye injuries occur at home. Protective eyewear can reduce the risk of injury. Falls causing eye injury can be eliminated with railings, rug removal and slip-proof mats.
  • Exercise boosts blood flow. A lack of blood flow to the eye can cause damage. Exercise helps increase blood flow, allows enough blood to flow into the retina, reduces risk of diabetes and can help lower risks of diabetic retinopathy.
  • Proper sleep lubricates the eyes. Sleep causes continuous lubrication of the eye. Proper sleep schedules allow the eyes to clear irritants and lubricates the eye to allow for better overall health.

Annual eye exams can help catch eye issues early, eliminating the risk of permanent eye damage and possible vision loss.

Simultaneous LASIK, corneal inlay implantation improve near, distance vision

ORLANDO, Fla. — Simultaneous treatment of presbyopia and refractive error with LASIK and corneal inlay implantation improved vision, particularly in older patients, according to a large study presented here.

“At 6 months, close to 90% of patients reported being satisfied or highly satisfied with their outcomes,” Minoru Tomita, MD, PhD, said at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting. “After 6 months, about 95% of patients reported decreased dependence on their glasses.”

The study included 2,000 patients who underwent simultaneous LASIK and implantation of the Kamra intracorneal inlay (AcuFocus) between 2009 and 2011. The inlay was implanted in only the non-dominant eye.

Patients were classified into age group by decade: 40s, 50s and 60s.

Study results at 6 months postop showed that mean uncorrected near visual acuity at 30 cm was J2 in the 40s and 50s age group and J3 in the 60s age group.

Patients in their 40s gained three lines of vision, those in their 50s gained four lines, and those in their 60s gained five lines, Dr. Tomita said.

Mean uncorrected distance visual acuity was 20/20 or better in all age groups, he said.

Concurrent centration of the LASIK flap, ablation zone and inlay implantation site was not particularly problematic, Dr. Tomita said in response to a question from an audience member.

Disclosure: Disclosure: Dr. Tomita has financial relationships with AcuFocus, Schwind and Zimmer.

Portable Macular Degeneration (AMD) Early Detection & Screening Device

Health Research Sciences has developed a new portable device allowing early detection of the leading cause of blindness in the US; Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Maculopathy. This inexpensive and portable device will be an integral part during the next few years in the fight to reduce AMD in the US.

Lighthouse Point, Florida September 30, 2010. Health Research Sciences introduces a new approach for testing macular function with the purpose of early detection of Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), Diabetic Maculopathy and other retinal pathologies. The MDD-2 Macular Degeneration Detection _ Screening Device has a unique, hand-held design that measures photostress recovery and solves the problem of inconsistent macular function testing.

The MDD-2 provides reproducible measurements of macular function (precise photostress recovery times) which are documented in a concise format for health professional interpretation. The MDD-2 also permits monitoring of central retinal health over time and can warn of deterioration in function at an early stage. Over 10 million Americans suffer from vision loss due to Macular Degeneration and approximately 4 million Americans are at risk for vision loss from Diabetes and further that these vision disorders cost all Americans over $1 billion annually.

The MDD-2 enables Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Primary Care Physicians and Endocrinologists to easily and efficiently measure macular function for the purpose of early detection of AMD, Diabetic Retinopathy and other central retinal diseases. The test may be administered by a trained technician/assistant and takes approximately 4 minutes to complete. Results are available immediately and easily interpreted by the physician.

“As Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology, Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine, I am very concerned about the need for early detection of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and Diabetic Retinopathy in the United States. I believe that dark adaptation and photostress recovery measurement are both effective tests for evaluating the function of the macula, detecting macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy at an early stage.”

Mark O.M. Tso, M.D., D. Sc.

Professor of Ophthalmology and Pathology

Wilmer Ophthalmological Institute

Johns Hopkins University, School of Medicine


Manny Negreiro

President _ CEO


New Class of Anti-Angiogenic Drugs Under Development

ORLANDO, Fla. — Integrin peptide therapy is on its way as a potential newcomer to the armamentarium of therapeutics used to treat vascular eye disease, according to a speaker here who delivered safety and efficacy data after conclusion of a phase 1 study. “We have shown an emerging new class of treatment for vascular eye disease,” Hugo Quiroz-Mercado, MD, reported at the Retina Subspecialty Day preceding the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting.

ALG-1001, which is being developed by Allegro Ophthalmics, is a first in class oligopeptide that binds to multiple angiogenic pathways, Dr. Quiroz-Mercado, said. The oligopeptide turns off the angiogenic cascade at its source and provides long-lasting effects, Dr. Quiroz-Mercado said.

“In phase 1 study, we observed that ALG is a safe treatment,” Dr. Quiroz-Mercado said, and the treatment was efficacious in more than 50% of patients. Clinical benefit lasted 90 days, he said.

Phase 2 trial in 75 wet AMD patients is planned in the U.S. in 2012.

Disclosure: Dr. Quiroz-Mercado has financial interest in Allegro Ophthalmics LLC.

Laser Eye Operations to Boost Growth of Refractive Surgery Device Market

LONDON, UK (GlobalData), 30 January 2012 – The number of people opting for laser eye surgery, partly due to the aging global population, is increasing demand for refractive surgery devices, a new report by industry analysis specialist GlobalData has found.

The new report states that the global market for refractive surgery devices was valued at US$666.5 million in 2010 and is forecast to reach US$805.2 million in 2017. The market is expected to be driven by an increasing patient population suffering from refractive errors and an increased awareness of the disease and treatment options.

Aging is closely associated with functional impairments such as low vision, loss of mobility and hearing impairments. Refractive errors affect one third of people who are 40 or older in the US and Western Europe. The prevalence of refractive errors in the US was 26% in 2010. The prevalence of myopia is as high as 70-90% in some Asian countries, and females are at higher risk of developing refractive errors compared to men.

Emerging economies such as India and China are expected to drive the growth of the refractive surgery devices market due to an aging population combined with growing affordability. In 2010, 76.6 million people living in India were aged 60 or over and projections indicate that this number will reach 9% by 2016. Furthermore, previous studies have suggested that blindness due to refractive error accounted for 0.36% and 0.59% of people aged over 50 years in India and China respectively.

Femtosecond lasers are forecast to be the fastest-growing category in the refractive surgery devices market and, according the research conducted by GlobalData, are expected to account for US$188 million of the market value in 2017. In 2011, femtosecond lasers accounted for 50% of the 750,000 refractive surgeries performed in the US.

The growing popularity of femtosecond lasers in refractive surgery devices market can be attributed to their precision in corneal flap creation during refractive surgery. Femtosecond Laser in Situ Keratomileusis (LASIK) procedures have numerous advantages over conventional LASIK surgery, such as greater accuracy of flap thickness due to the absence of direct contact, smoother cuts than microkeratome cuts, and improved sterility through reduced contact with instruments.

In 2010, Abbott Medical Optics (AMO) was the leader in the global refractive surgery devices market with a share of 26%. AMO offers a broad range of Excimer and Femtosecond laser platforms. Other key players in the market with significant presence include Alcon, Bausch and Lomb, and Carl Zeiss.

Grapes May Help Prevent AMD

Can eating grapes slow or help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a debilitating condition affecting millions of elderly people worldwide? Results from a new study published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine suggest this might be the case. The antioxidant actions of grapes are believed to be responsible for these protective effects.

The study compared the impact of an antioxidant-rich diet on vision using mice prone to developing retinal damage in old age in much the same way as humans do. Mice either received a grape-enriched diet, a diet with added lutein, or a normal diet.

The result? Grapes proved to offer dramatic protection: the grape-enriched diet protected against oxidative damage of the retina and prevented blindness in those mice consuming grapes. While lutein was also effective, grapes were found to offer significantly more protection.

“The protective effect of the grapes in this study was remarkable, offering a benefit for vision at old age even if grapes were consumed only at young age,” said principal investigator Silvia Finnemann, PhD, Department of Biological Sciences, Fordham University in New York.

Dr. Finnemann noted that results from her study suggest that age-related vision loss is a result of cumulative, oxidative damage over time. “A lifelong diet enriched in natural antioxidants, such as those in grapes, appears to be directly beneficial for RPE and retinal health and function.”

Age-related macular degeneration is a progressive eye condition, leading to the deterioration of the center of the retina, called the macula. It is the leading cause of blindness in the elderly. Aging of the retina is associated with increased levels of oxidative damage, and oxidative stress is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of AMD.

In AMD, there is a known decline in the function of retinal pigment epithelium cells (RPE), which are the support cells for the photoreceptors in the retina that are critical to the process of converting light into sight. The RPE dysfunction is caused by 1) a build-up of metabolic waste products (known as lipofuscin) in the RPE itself and 2) an oxidation burden on the RPE that compromise important metabolic pathways. The resulting dysfunction, distress and often death of the RPE cells leads to AMD.

This study showed that adding grapes to the diet prevented blindness in mice by significantly decreasing the build-up of lipofuscin and preventing the oxidative damage to the RPE, thus ensuring optimal functioning of this critical part of the retina.

“Preserving eye health is a key concern as we age and this study shows that grapes may play a critical role in achieving this,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the California Table Grape Commission. “This is good news for consumers of all ages who enjoy grapes, and adds to the growing body of evidence that grapes offer an array of health benefits.”

Provided by Fleishman-Hillard, Inc.

Free Promotion in Fier Eye Screening

Fier eye screening

The Fier Eye Care _ Surgery Center offers free screenings for cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma and diabetic eye disease. Free Lasik screenings also are available, as is assessment of eligibility for free glaucoma medication. The center is located at 514 S.W. Prima Vista Blvd., Port St. Lucie. To schedule an appointment, call (772) 878-3437.

EyeBuyDirect 5th Anniversary Free Promotion

EyeBuyDirect is celebrating its 5th Anniversary in March. They’re starting things out with their most famous sale – the Buy One Get One FREE.

Simply add as many pairs of glasses as you like to your shopping cart. During checkout, the frames will automatically be paired and you will pay only for one of the two pairs.

The coolest part is that we get a head start on it! We get the last day of February to get our orders in early and beat the rush.

This promotion is only for TWO WEEKS.