1. ITV Report

Photograph reveals Retinoblastoma in child's eye

An illustration of what Retinoblastoma can look like in the eye Photo: Birmingham Children's Hospital

When the father of nine-week-old Romero Norville took a photo of his son on his camera phone earlier this year, he was worried to find a small white reflex in his eyes.

Curtis and Leonie Norville, from Perry Barr in Birmingham, immediately took Romero to their family GP, who quickly referred him to the Birmingham Children's Hospital.

Staff carried out an eye examination upon his arrival and they confirmed that Romero had bilateral retinoblastoma, a rare form of eye cancer.

In total, Romero has a large tumor in his left eye and five smaller tumors in his right eye.

"At the time, although we were worried, we thought that the worst case scenario would be that he had a cataract. To hear that our son had cancer in both eyes was heartbreaking."

– Curtis Norville, Romero's father

Retinoblastoma affects between 40-50 children a year in the UK. While it is rare, it is the most treatable form of childhood cancer. 98% of patients are cured.

Nearly 40% of children with retinoblastoma will have inherited it. The rest occur for no reason.

Romero Neville was diagnosed with retinoblastoma Credit: ITV Central

Since he was diagnosed, Romero, who is now nearly six-months-old, has chemotherapy every four weeks and has had several laser treatments.

After the first dose of chemotherapy, the tumor in his left eye shrunk by a third and is getting smaller. The five smaller tumours have now gone after laser treatment.

Birmingham Children's Hospital is one of only two hospitals in the country that treats babies and children with retinoblastoma. It has recently launched a £4m Children's Cancer Centre Appeal in an attempt to raise the money they need to upgrade their existing ward and outpatient areas.

They have issued some symptoms of retinoblastoma that parents should look out for:

  • A white eye - white pupil or white reflection that can be seen in a photograph where the flash has been used
  • An absence of "red eye" in flash photographs
  • A squint - Although a squint can be just that, sometimes it is a symptom of retinoblastoma.
  • Red, sore or swollen eye without infection
  • A change in colour to the iris
An illustration of what a colour change to the iris can look like Credit: Birmingham Children's Hospital