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Toddler loses his eye after his parents notice a strange symptom; what led them to this discovery saved his life (and every parent should be aware of it)

Posted May 24

Rachel Campbell and John Scott are asking parents to not “turn a blind eye” when it comes to getting their children’s eyes checked regularly.

Corey Scott, Rachel and John’s two-year-old son, just barely escaped death when his dad noticed something strange in Corey’s eye, which was only picked up through photos. It was a white glow in his left eye.

“Rachel asked me if I’d noticed anything strange in his eye when she initially saw the white glow,” John said. “In fact, I had meant to investigate it a month or two earlier after noticing something similar, but because it was just when the light caught it a certain way, I forgot about it.”

Getting in to see a doctor

Later that night, Rachel and John researched what the white glow could mean — though seemingly insignificant, the parent discovered it could mean retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer found in young children. The concerned parents took their son to the doctor the next day.

The doctor wasn’t sure what the exact problem was, so he referred the Scott family to the local hospital.

Scheduling an appointment with that hospital could take 4-6 weeks, and Rachel and John knew that if it really was retinoblastoma, their little Corey wouldn’t have that much time.

After calling around to different hospitals, John said he found out there was only one hospital in the UK that treated retinoblastoma, so he called them.

“I told them I suspected my son had retinoblastoma. They rang the RVI for us and we were invited in for Corey to have an ultrasound,” John said.

The diagnosis

The ultrasound found that the retina in Corey’s left eye had completely detached and made room for a large tumor. Doctors said that, because the tumor was so large, Corey’s sight could not be saved, according to My News Desk.

Just a couple days later and a few days before Christmas, Corey underwent surgery to have his eye removed.

“Afterwards, we found out due to his retina detaching, [Corey] had been blind in that eye for at least three months before he was diagnosed, but he showed no signs of struggling and he hadn’t had an eye test yet,” Corey's father, John said. “His good eye has been checked now, though, and his vision is fine.”

A life saved

Corey’s parents believe that his life was saved because of their persistence.

“After his operation, we got the referral letter through from his first visit to the GP and he would have had to wait until March to be seen,” John mentioned. “If we hadn’t chased it up and had waited for that appointment, the doctors said the cancer could have spread to his brain.”

Spreading awareness

Children’s sight can be tested at any age, though it’s particularly recommended that they see an optometrist before they start school and begin learning to read. Eyes are fully developed by the time children are eight years old, so any sight defects that have gone undetected by that time are largely irreversible.

While retinoblastoma is rare, with only 200 to 300 children diagnosed each year in the U.S., the cancer if left untreated can be fatal if it spreads outside of the eyes.

Thanks to Rachel and John’s diligence, they were able to save their son’s life. If you notice anything abnormal in your child’s eyes, be sure to get it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

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