Know About the Glow – Glowing Eyes in Photos Can Indicate an Eye Disease

Eye DiseaseMost parents don’t know that a golden glow reflected back from your child’s eye in a flash photograph can indicate some serious eye disease or even cancer white glow reflected by a camera flash in their child’s eye could be a sign of two serious eye diseases:

• Coat’s disease
Coat’s disease is a very rare congenital, non-hereditary eye disorder in which blood vessels of the retina develop abnormally and can lead to partial or total blindness. Coat’s disease predominantly occurs in young males in their first decade of life and is usually unilateral (only affecting one eye). Blood leaks from the abnormal blood vessels, cholesterol deposits in the retina and leads to retinal detachment. As various components of blood leak into the retina, fluid accumulates under the retina. The result may be loss of vision, particularly central vision, and detachment of the retina from other layers of the eye. However, through early treatment, vision can often be restored. Flash photography usually creates a “red-eye” effect caused by a reflection of normal blood vessels in the retina. In Coat’s disease, flash photography creates a “yellow-eye” effect due to the cholesterol deposits in the retina. It is important to recognize the yellow glow and seek medical advise accordingly.

• Retinoblastoma
The second most common cause of appearance glow in the eyes of children, retinoblastoma arises from a mutation in the gene that causes cells in the retina to divide and grow out of control. It can occur in one eye or both and generally affects children under the age of 6. . This cancer is curable if caught early enough. is a tumor in the eye. However, like other most cancers, early detection is key and many treatment options exist such as chemotherapy and beam radiation.

Other diseases that could cause the glow
Some other eye disorders that could produce glow in the eyes include amblyopia, cataract, coloboma, Norrie’s Disease, refractive error, retinal detachment, retinal dysplasia, retinopathy of prematurity (ROP), strabismus, toxocariasis and injury.

Alarming Glow Statistics
The estimated statistics about the possible glow in children are alarming. It has been estimated that about one in every 80 children will have a glow in either one or both eyes. The white reflection can indicate a number of eye diseases of which 80% could be prevented from blindness. Therefore, while the statistics do pose a severe threat, there is also a great hope based of complete cure based on the early detection and prevention.

How to detect the glow?
Eye doctors and pediatricians can easily check and screen for Coat’s disease, Retinoblastoma, and a host of other serious eyesight related diseases. Pediatricians, for example, can easily diagnose the same by using a simple red-reflex text test which is done at a well-child exam, preferably within the first two months of the birth.

What parents should know
As a parent, you have the most important duty of learning and understanding the causes and the signs that indicate any of such underlying glow-related disorders. Parents should also be vigilant all the time and never ignore any of such signs (e.g. a white / golden glow in the child’s eye) especially in photographs. This is, indeed, one of the simplest ways of detecting a possible eye disease.

Following these simple steps can help you detect the glow:
1. Take some flash photographs of your children in different positions, lighting and angles

2. Do not apply red-eye correction on your camera while taking those pictures

3. Remember to look through the pictures to check if you notice a white glow in either or both eyes of the child

4. You can also ask your pediatrician to perform a red reflex screening.

Finally, if you think you have just noticed some sort of glow, you should immediately consult an ophthalmologist for confirmation, early diagnosis and treatment. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to fight against these severe, but preventable, disorders.

Dr. Carter H. Gussler, MD
Dr. John C. Gross, MD
Dr. Kimberly Epling, OD
We take appointments by referral only.
2841 Lexington Ave., Ashland, KY
(606) 324-2451

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