New Zealand resident Sarah Bowers was giving her 12-week old baby boy, Mason Page, a bath by the fire while taking photos. Looking at the photos (not just one but all of them), she noticed that her child’s left eye had a “golden glow.” It wasn’t particularly reassuring either when she recalled something she read while pregnant about a mother who noticed a similar glow in her baby’s eyes.
Bowers took Mason to the GP to have the issue checked and she was referred to an eye specialist, who confirmed that her son’s left eye was totally blind. She was surprised to hear this when Mason never showed signs of being blind. According to Bower, the pupil in Mason’s eye dilates and the eye can follow and respond to light. The eye specialist suggested the issue with her son’s eyes may be Coats’ Disease or worse, a rare eye cancer called retinoblastoma.
Bowers was referred to another doctor who specialized in retinoblastoma and other eye conditions. The tests showed that Mason was completely blind in the left eye and had a detached retina which meant he could never gain back his sight. Since there was still uncertainty over which eye disease her son has, the doctor suggested the removal of the affected eye. Doing so allowed for the proper diagnosis of the issue and was also a precautionary measure to ensure the problem didn’t spread to the remaining eye.
It was a huge relief for Bowers to learn that eye cancer was ruled out. Instead, her son had the non-life threatening Coats’ Disease, a condition of abnormal development in the blood vessels behind the retina.
A prosthetic eye is almost always recommended following the removal of an eye due to disease. However, Mason was just twelve weeks old at the time and was constantly growing so Bowers was told that he might not get an artificial eye until he turned two.
Follow ups are standard for someone who has had a glass eye implanted because it’s normal for the eye socket to change shape, something which would be particularly true in the case of a growing child like Mason.
It was a surprise and blessing then that a doctor from Australia offered to give Mason a prosthetic eye just before Christmas. This was in 2015. Mason is now two years old and while he has adjusted to having an artificial eye, Bowers says that she has to keep a close eye to prevent him from rubbing it.
Since Mason is still growing, Bowers takes him to the doctor once a year to have the prosthetic checked, cleaned and adjusted.