Eye diseases can be detectable in children's photos

If you're taking pictures this holiday weekend, take a close look at your child's eye in the photos,

You've probably seen the stories of parents who have detected childhood eye diseases by looking at their child's eyes in photographs.

According to Dr. Allison Babiuch from the Cleveland Clinic, regularly checking for 'red-eye’, or the 'red-reflex' of your child's eyes in photos is a good idea, because if there is a problem it's best to find it as early as possible.

"If you are looking at the red reflex of the eye and that means if you shine a light on their eyes, or you take a picture, there should be a nice, red reflex through the pupil, the black part of the eye. If you don't see the same red reflex in both eyes, that could be a sign of a problem," she explains. 

The red reflex is what we commonly refer to as "red-eye" that often appears in pictures.

Dr. Babiuch says that the most important thing that parents need to be on the lookout for is a difference in light reflection between the two eyes.

If one eye has a red reflex but the other does not, or appears to have a white, cloudy appearance, it could mean that the child needs glasses, that the eyes are misaligned or it could be the sign of something more serious like a cataract or a tumor.

Dr. Babiuch says that if you consistently notice an abnormal red reflex, you should have your child evaluated as soon as possible as early detection increases the likelihood that treatments will be effective.

Dr. Babiuch says it helps to use a camera with a flash, but that it's also important to check your camera's settings first to help avoid false alarms and worry.

"Now when you take pictures with a camera the red reflex often, it auto "gets rid" of the red reflex, and so if you see no red reflex check your camera first and see if you've switched the red reflex off, okay, because we have a lot of parents come in and say, 'There's no red reflex,' and well, it was your camera," Dr. Babiuch says.

While a white cloudy spot on the pupil isn't always the sign of disease, experts say the chance of saving a child's eye, or a child's life, is worth the trip to the eye doctor.

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