Most toddlers keep themselves busy exploring their world with bright, wide-open eyes. So when the parents of two-year-old Shiva, from India, noticed a squint in his right eye, they knew right away that something was wrong. They took him to a government hospital where he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma.
The most common eye cancer in children, retinoblastoma usually affects kids under three years of age. It is treatable when detected early, but 50 per cent of children diagnosed eye cancer worldwide lose their lives due to late detection and inadequate treatment.
Shiva’s parents took him to the Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer at the L V Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI) in Hyderabad, where Dr. Swathi Kaliki confirmed the diagnosis. She told the devastated parents that with timely treatment, Shiva would survive the cancer, and although he would lose the affected eye, he would be able to continue to see with his healthy left eye.
Shiva’s right eye was removed, and his chemotherapy treatment spanned five months. Afterwards he was fitted with a prosthetic eye. Today he is a healthy little boy with a bright future.
The Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer was established in 2015 through support from a generous Operation Eyesight donor. The facility provides treatment for both children and adults free of charge if they are unable to afford it.
Shiva’s father, a farm labourer, is grateful for the free, life-saving care the Institute provided his son. “Sometimes we wonder what might have happened to our child if we had not visited LVPEI in time,” he says. “And then we thank God, Dr. Swathi Kaliki and the L V Prasad Eye Institute.”