One British mother is on a mission to raise awareness for a serious eye condition that blinded one of her two-year-old son's eyes. Christina Doughty is now urging all parents to regularly check their child's eyes simply by taking a flash photograph in a dark room. Just one photo could save a child from early blindness, Doughty said.
The disease Doughty is concerned about is called Coats' disease. While this disease is relatively rare, it is most often found in children and can cause full blindness if not treated early on. Most cases of Coats' disease occur in young boys aged between 8 – 16 years. Coats' disease is not genetically inherited and there's no indication that any racial group has an increased risk for contracting the disease.
Doughty had no idea her son, Miguel, had any problems with his eyes until she posted a photo of him on social media. After a few hours, someone commented on the picture saying something looked wrong with one of Miguel's eyes. When Doughty looked at the picture again, she noticed that his left eye looked yellow.
After the strange photo was brought to Doughty's attention, she took her son to a local Southend pediatrician. The doctor soon diagnosed Miguel with Coats' disease.
Unfortunately for Miguel, it was far too late for doctors to save his left eye from total blindness. In the future, doctors will have to perform a few laser surgeries to stop the disease from spreading. These laser surgeries will be conducted in the summer at London's. Great Ormond Street Hospital. Doughty said it may take as many as seven surgeries to fully contain this disease.
As many people are aware, an eye appearing red in flash photos is quite normal. The famous "red eye" is simply a reflection of blood vessels. Flash photos that show either yellow or white eyes, however, signal that the eye is actually dying off.
Doughty is now urging all doctors to inform expectant mothers about Coats' disease. She said if she had known how to check for Coats' disease using a flash photo sooner, her son might still have his vision today.
In an interview with local reporters, Doughty said every mother should check their child's eyes with a flash photo frequently. If parents notice their child's eye is either white or yellow, they should schedule an appointment with a doctor immediately. Not only could a white/yellow eye signal Coats' disease, it could also be an early indicator of cancer.
There are actually numerous free apps for both Android and Apple devices that help determine whether or not a child has white/yellow eye. Doughty said every parent should download a high-quality white eye detector onto their smartphone.
Despite his blind left eye, Miguel seems to be just as rambunctious as any other 2-year-old boy. His mother said that since Miguel has been growing up with vision in one eye, it seems normal to him.
Doughty, 33, currently resides in the city of Southend. She hopes all of her interviews and social media posts will help mothers around the world better understand the warning signs of Coats' disease.