The most common form of eye cancer among kids below five years is called Retinoblastoma.
Stating that most cases of eye cancer in the country get detected at alarmingly late stages, doctors here have stressed on the importance of spreading awareness about the types and symptoms of the disease to ensure its prevention, detection and treatment.
“Eye cancer, in this part of the world, is not very frequent, but it can make one blind and turn fatal if not detected at a certain stage. Most of the times, patients come very late and the treatment becomes complicated. People should be made aware that like all body parts, the eye, too, can develop cancer. And cancer in different organs can travel to the eye,” said Bikramjit Pal, ocular oncology expert at Sankara Nethralaya.
The doctor said that specialised facilities for treating cancerous tumours of the eye as well as specialised doctors are scarce in the country. “In eastern India, there is just one such institute, while western and central India has nothing that treats eye cancer. You can count the number of medical facilities in the country that specialise in treating eye cancer. Also, there are hardly any trained ocular oncologists in the country. There are hardly 10 or 11 people in the whole of India,” he pointed out.
The most common form of eye cancer among kids below five years is called Retinoblastoma in which there can be a squint in the eye or it might have a white shade appearing inside the pupil. “Cases of Retinoblastoma can be seen in one among 20,000 kids,” Pal said. “If it is detected at an early stage, the kid and his eyesight can both be saved. But if it gets too late, the cancer can kill the eyesight and even become fatal in some cases,” he added.