Israeli Doctors Work to Save Toddlers‘ Eye

Epoch Times28. Juli 2011 Aktualisiert: 28. Juli 2011 21:21

Retinoblastoma is a very aggressive cancer and a baby develops the eye affliction early on his or her life.

The vigilance of baby Victoria’s mother brought her to diagnose and receive treatments for her seventeen-months old baby in her native homeland, Belarus.

The common signs of the disease’s progression is that an infant’s eye becomes white or yellow or the child develops sideways vision.

[Oksana Pranko, Baby’s Mother]:

„In February, I saw a light inside her eye, but I did not pay attention to it and I did  not think it was anything unusual. But in April this year we decided to see an eye doctor. We received a frightening diagnosis – Retinoblastoma. I felt as if the earth was slipping from under my feet – I was feeling terribly depressed!“

In the past children died from this disease because the cells grew in the eye and spread to the infant’s brain.

[Alexander Pranko, Baby’s Father]:

„After we were given this terrible diagnosis in Belarus, the doctors summoned us to have an operation and remove our baby’s eye on June 1, 2011. We began to look for medicine and clinics through the Internet in Israel and Germany. Within 3 days we received an official response from Israel and a booking for treating our child at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer.“

The Prankos and Victoria landed in Israel in late May.

Dr. Dai was assigned to the case. The purpose of the therapy was to save the child’s life, her eye and her vision.

[Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai, MD, Director, Ocular Oncology and Autoimmune Center]:

„In the case of Victoria even though it is a difficult and deadly cancer, we are talking about involvement of only one eye and therefore she is particularly suited for this special treatment in which we will apply chemotherapy only to the infected eye!”

The treatments that Victoria receives at the Sheba Medical Center have just begun and are not easy for the toddler.

[Oksana Pranko, Mother]:

„Of course she has pain, she cries at night – it looks like she has nightmares, but she is going through it well now!“

In recent years there has been a revolution in the field of disease management.

In the past chemotherapy was done on all of the eye, hurting healthy eye tissue as well.

Today the therapy is targeted.

[Vicktoria Vishnevskia-Dai, MD, Director, Ocular Oncology and Autoimmune Center]:

„In practice the innovative treatment is performed by a specialist, Dr. Matthew Bacon at Tel Hashomer. He inserts a very small and gentle tube into the artery that directly reaches the eye and inside that artery we inject the chemotherapy.“

Dr. Dai says that the eye examination policy for infants in the Western world, is to test babies at the age of  one year, three years and six years.

She adds that parents must be aware of all the ongoing changes with their children’s eyes.

If there is any suspicion, the child should be brought in for additional checkups..

Reporter:Lee Rom

Photographer:Michael Ash

NTD News, Israel

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