One in three parents (35%) of children aged six and under have asked a health visitor to check their child’s eyes, according to new research from the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT).
The survey results, which were published during World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week (12 –18 May), reveal that the proportion of parents asking their health visitor to check their child’s eye health has increased from 2014, when 29% of parents requested a check.
The CHECT is asking health visitors to familiarise themselves with the main signs and symptoms of retinoblastoma and the correct referral procedure.
The research also found that 26% of parents said their child’s eye health was one of their greatest concerns.
CHECT chief executive, Patrick Tonks, highlighted that retinoblastoma is a rare, aggressive eye cancer that affects babies and children under the age of six.
“Over 90% of children diagnosed with retinoblastoma will survive, but more than half will lose an eye in order to save their life, so urgent referral and early diagnosis is vital to save a child’s sight, eyes and life,” he said.
Signs of retinoblastoma include a white glow in the pupil or white reflection in the pupil when a flash photo is taken, a new squint, a change in the colour of the iris or a deterioration in vision.
It may occasionally present as a red, sore or swollen eye without other signs of infection.
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