Know the Glow ~ Retinoblastoma

retinoblastomaRetinoblastoma is a type of eye cancer that develops in the light-sensitive lining of the eye, called the retina.

The White Eye Detector or CRADLE (ComputeR Assisted Detector of LEukoria) cellphone app helps parents detect the appearance of white eye in pictures of their children. A white pupil can be a normal photographic effect in pictures (like red-eye, but white).

Retinoblastoma can occur at any age but mainly occurs in children younger than 5 years of age and most often in those younger than 2.

Retinoblastoma may occur in one or both eyes, but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Although it is the most common eye tumour in children, it is a rare childhood cancer and accounts for about 3-4% of childhood cancers.

There are 2 Types of Retinoblastoma:

  • Inherited: Retinoblastoma is sometimes inherited from the parent; this is known as hereditary or germline retinoblastoma and is usually bi-lateral (in both eyes).
  • Non-Inherited: This type of Retinoblastoma generally occurs in only one eye (unilateral)

The main challenge of treating Retinoblastoma is the prevention of blindness, however approximately 98% of children with retinoblastoma are cured.


What is “The Glow”

Leukocoria, the medical term used to describe “The Glow” is an abnormal red-eye reflex, common to several devastating childhood eye diseases and is seen as a yellow “glow” in the pupil.  Leukocoria actually means white pupil, and prompt attention by appropriate medical personnel is recommended if “The Glow” is seen in multiple photos.


the glow

Diseases Associated with “The Glow”


CRADLE White Eye Detector App

The White Eye Detector or CRADLE (ComputeR Assisted Detector of LEukoria) cellphone app helps parents detect the appearance of white eye in pictures of their children. A white pupil can be a normal photographic effect in pictures (like red-eye, but white).

The app from Baylor University was invented by Baylor chemist Bryan Shaw and Baylor computer scientist Greg Hamerly. Shaw’s own son had retinoblastoma and he was able to detect it after noticing white eye — properly called leukocoria — in a baby photo.

The App which was previously only available for iPhone® or iPad has now been released for Android® phones as well.


Published on Dec 7, 2014
Flash photography is one of the easiest ways to detect a life-threatening eye cancer called Retinoblastoma. The tumour can develop in young children from birth and often reflects back as a white pupil. Early detection is the key to saving their sight and their lives. So we developed CHECT Flash Photo Posters to show parents that they can detect eye cancer in their child simply by taking a photo


The app can automatically look through all the baby pictures on Phone’s camera roll and flag any potential leukocorias, which is important because they tend to show up only inconsistently in photographs.

CRADLE AppWhen it finds pictures, it suggests that parents go to their pediatrician. It also requests that they upload the photos to Baylor’s database, so they can be used to continue refining the algorithm. Ideally, the app will learn to be better and better at eliminating false positives that might cause needless worries for patients.

An additional feature is a screening mode, which allows the user to shine the phone’s light into someone’s eye and use the camera to search for the telltale white reflection.

The free app is a simple to use and an excellent resource for parents to identify the potentially dangerous glow.

The app is under clinical review at the Harvard Cancer Institute, and Shaw and his associates are seeking FDA approval to use it as a clinical test in addition to, or perhaps in place of, the more common Red Eye Reflex Test.

Shaw believes the free app’s international availability will help people—especially those with little access to health care—detect potential issues early.



About LFCT

CHILDHOOD CANCER and CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS Little Fighters Cancer Trust is a non-profit Childhood Cancer support organisation that offers support and aid to Children with Cancer and their families. When a child is diagnosed with cancer it affects the whole family. One of the parents, usually the mother, must give up their job to care for the child and this creates financial problems for the family. In South Africa especially the majority of these families are not well-to-do; many of them are rural. A diagnosis of cancer can wipe out any family’s finances, let alone a poor family. The costs of special medications, special diets, hospital stays, transport to and from the hospital or clinic and accommodation and food costs for the mother who spends most of the time at her child’s bedside are astronomical. These are the people and problems that fall through the cracks, and these are the people that Little Fighters Cancer Trust has pledged to help in any way possible. LFCT takes a holistic approach to assisting the Children with Cancer and their Families, with the main aim to be the preservation of individual dignity and pride. Little Fighters Cancer Trust also focuses on promotion and advocacy of National Childhood Cancer Awareness in an effort to increase awareness of Early Warning Signs of Childhood Cancer. This would result in earlier diagnosis, giving the Child with Cancer more of a chance at Treatment and Survival. See "About" for more Background info

Posted on 4 March, 2016, in Blog and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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