Yanah had just turned 2 when we first noticed a glow in her left eye in some of the photographs we took of her. Thinking it was just a normal bounce back of the camera flash, we didn’t give it much attention. But when “the Glow” started to show more often, we decided to have her checked to make sure it was not the sign of something more. Last January 13, 2018, we had a consultation with Dr. AJ Vega, an ophthalmologist in our home town of Taguig City in the Philippines. After checking her left eye several times, he diagnosed Yanah with Leukocoria, the medical term for an abnormal white reflection of the pupil (the Glow).
He explained that there could be several causes for her Leukocoria and referred us to a specialist, Dr. Gary John Mercado (Ophthalmologist – Oncologist) at Medical City, Pasig for a more thorough examination. We had our visit with Dr. Mercado just four days later. He performed several tests on Yanah, including checking her eyes using an ultrasound. We were then told that Yanah did have a mass behind her eye. She was diagnosed with Retinoblastoma. We were told that she needed to have her eye removed. The tumor had already covered nearly ⅔ of the back of her eye. Dr. Mercado scheduled an immediate operation for her at Philippine General Hospital (PGH) the very next week.
He encouraged us to have the surgery performed immediately, as he did not want the tumor to affect the right eye or spread any further. On January 23, 2018, Yanah had the surgery to remove her eye at Sentro Oftalmologico Jose Rizal (SOJR) at PGH. Yanah handled the surgery very well. Eight weeks later, we were referred to Dr. Marissa Gay Tumbocon, an ocularist, for the fitting and placing of an ocular prosthesis. Yanah is checked regularly to make sure there are no reoccurring tumors. So far, all of her checks have been clear. She recently had an Examination Under Anesthesia and we were again told there is no sign of cancer. We were told that the chance of reccurrence is very low. We are very thankful that we noticed the Glow in Yanah’s photos and knew that it could be an indication of something more.
We are now determined to spread awareness of the Glow to as many people as possible. We hope by doing so we will save another child’s vision, and possibly their life.