When you think of Operation Eyesight and our mission to eliminate avoidable blindness, the word “cancer” may not come to mind. However, eye cancer is a cause of blindness, and in some cases, this blindness could have been avoided with early detection.
Retinoblastoma, a malignant tumour that starts in the cells of the retina, is the most common type of eye cancer in children. According to The Times of India, retinoblastoma accounts for three percent of all cancers affecting children under the age of four. Around 2,200 new cases of eye cancer are reported every year in India, which is just one of the countries in which Operation Eyesight works.
“Timely treatment can save 95 percent of the children suffering from the disease. In 75 per cent of the cases, the child’s vision can be saved. Hence, awareness, early detection and treatment are extremely crucial,” says Dr. Swathi Kaliki, consultant, Orbit and Ocular Oncology Services, at the L V Prasad Eye Institute in Hyderabad, India.
Through Operation Eyesight’s school and community outreach programs, in both India and Africa, we are able to screen children for eye health problems and refer them to the nearest partner hospital for treatment.
Sheri, Evans, Brian and Xavier are just four of the beneficiaries of our donors’ support. By providing much-needed funds for our community outreach and treatment programs, our donors have helped many other children like them.
Tomorrow, on World Cancer Day, I hope you will consider making a donation to Operation Eyesight so we can continue to treat children with eye cancer and preserve their vision.
I also encourage you to learn more about the symptoms of eye cancer and schedule regular eye exams yourself, so cancer and other blinding conditions can be detected and treated as early as possible.