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Sunglasses Donated to Children Diagnosed with Rare Cancer

Amy Pastorella

Local Retinoblastoma Survivor Donates 100 pairs of sunglasses to children diagnosed with Retinoblastoma

Utica, NY—Local Retinoblastoma (RB) survivor, of sunglasses to pediatric patients diagnosed with Retinoblastoma and other diseases affecting the eyes at the Wills Eye Care Institute in Philadelphia.

This is the second year Amy has collected sunglasses for Wills. Amy says, “A side effect of Retinoblastoma besides a loss of vision is, sensitivity to bright light.  Having been diagnosed with RB at the age of two years, I understand the struggle children may have with being in the sunlight or in bright lighted areas. Receiving the sunglasses also makes kids excited while they are receiving treatments.”

Patients who receive the sunglasses are primarily children fighting varying types of eye cancer as well as their families. Retinoblastoma is the most prominent but there are other types as well including Choroidal melanoma, conjunctival melanoma, iris melanoma, and choroidal osteoma, hemangiomas, and medulloepithelioma. “The first year I did this, I received thank you notes from children and their families.  This is a way for me to raise awareness for Retinoblastoma as well as connect with other families who are currently going through it,” said Amy.

Sunglass protection is very important to eye health. Sunglasses can help protect the eyes from the sun’s UV rays. The most common side effect of UV exposure in the eyes is the formation of cataracts which can cause blurred or clouded vision. Teaching patients at a young age about taking care of their eyes is extremely important, especially those who already may have disrupted vision in one eye due to eye cancer. The Ocular Oncology Service of Wills Eye strongly encourages all patients to be proactive about eye care whether it be to wear polycarbonate lenses or to wear sunglasses to protect the eyes from UV.

The Ocular Oncology Service of Wills Eye Hospital’s mission is to provide the most skilled care for patients with ocular tumors and cancers in a compassionate way with the ultimate goal to save life and sight. Our patients include people of all ages with varying types of eye cancer. One of these cancers is retinoblastoma. Retinoblastoma is a rare cancer of the eye caused by a mutation of chromosome 13. It affects children, usually under the age of 3 years old, in one or both eyes. This cancer is very rare and in the United States, there is usually only 300 cases per year. The Ocular Oncology Service devotes much time and research to find better treatment options for all types of eye cancers. The two research foundations that are associated with the Ocular Oncology Service are the Eye Tumor Research Foundation and the Carlos G. Bianciotto Retinoblastoma Research Fund.  You can learn more about eye cancer at www.fighteyecancer.com. You can find out more about eye cancer research at www.etrf.org.



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