Treatment for Children
Retinoblastoma is a rare childhood cancer that occasionally requires the child’s eye to be surgically removed. This is a very sad and traumatic event for the entire family. We are here to help restore some normality to your lives and provide healing both physically and emotionally. The provision of an artificial eye to your child will assist in bringing closure to this situation. Surprisingly, the child usually bounces back faster than parents do. As a parent, there are many worries and concerns. Once the ocular prosthesis is fitted children seem to simply return to their normal activities and carry on with life. We care about both you and your child and will establish a lifelong relationship together through the regular office visits to update and maintain the artificial eye.
Helpful website : Canadian Retinoblastoma Society
Every person who walks through our door has been through a traumatic experience, unfortunately this sometimes includes children. We strive to create a safe environment for the whole family and answer any questions you may have. We are here to help in the transition to monocular life and get your child back to their playful selves again!
Dad's little hero
Just another happy boy
Living a full life
- Congenital Microphthalmia
- A birth abnormality where the eye did not complete its development thus resulting in an abnormally small eye.
- Congenital Anophthalmia
- A birth abnormality where there is complete absence of the eyeball.
Congenital microphthalmos or congenital anophthalmos can be unilateral (one eye) or bilateral (both eyes). The child is referred to the ocularist by a pediatric ophthalmologist.
Depending upon the severity of the birth abnormality, it is often necessary to expand the eye socket(s) by the use of custom conformers to enable the artificial eye to be fitted. If this is required, the child is usually placed under a general anesthetic at Children's Hospital for an impression to be made of the eye socket. The general anesthetic is usually only required for the initial conformer. The custom acrylic conformer is based upon the shape obtained from the impression and is fitted in the ocularist's office with the child awake.
Several weeks later a larger conformer replaces the previous one. This helps to initiate the expansion process of the eye socket and is continued until the eye socket is of sufficient size to accommodate a full eye prosthesis. It is preferred to see the child as young as possible to start the expansion process! Two months of age is fairly common. The time taken to expand the eye socket for the provision of the prosthesis is very much an individual matter; however, it may be as short as two months or as long as one year or more depending how the socket responds to the expansion conformers.
Microphthalmos and anophthalmos are rare congenital abnormalities. It is important for the family to be connected to a network of information and support during this time. Resources on this subject are limited; however, a parental support group is available at MAPS (Microphthalmia Anophthalmia Parent Support) at www.maparentsupport.com. Some information regarding this condition is also accessible through www.anophthalima.org or by calling 1-800-580-ICAN.
A happy child
Our Journey with Microphthalmia
Our daughter was diagnosed with severe right eye microphthalmia at birth. She could hardly open her right eye at all. It was a surprise to our family and we were nervous about what to expect for her going forward.
After visits with Ophthalmology at BC Children’s Hospital, it was determined that there was no light perception, no viable optic nerve and no sight. We were referred to Marie Allen to begin the conformer process. We were advised that this was recommended to promote normal facial growth.
Marie, Heather and Liz were wonderful to meet. They were sensitive, informative and clear about the process ahead of us.
Our daughter had her first conformer at four weeks old, which was sized up and replaced every four to six weeks. This can be challenging but Marie, Heather and Liz were very patient and knew exactly what they were doing. She had six conformers total before receiving her painted shell at 8.5 months old. Her shell is beautiful and matches her other eye perfectly. You would never guess!
I am amazed by what the team here has been able to do. When meeting people, I have full confidence that her micro eye is not something they notice - they just see her smile!
While we are sure to take care for her eyes, shell and her vision, her microphthalmia has become of decreasing concern to our family - we’re just having fun with her and keeping her out of trouble like any other kid.
We can’t thank Marie, Heather and Liz for what they’ve done. We’re so happy to be working with them for the years to come.
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