Kyle Has Cancer in His Eyes
When Kyle was about two years old, his parents noticed what looked like a white speck in his left eye. It concerned them enough that when they took Kyle to the pediatrician for his well-child checkup, they mentioned the white dot. The pediatrician acknowledged that something was in his eye and that it was most likely a cataract. Kyle was referred to a specialist, who examined Kyle’s eyes and identified the white dot as a cancerous tumor. The news got worse when the doctor said that both eyes had cancerous tumors known as retinoblastoma.
Retinoblastoma is a rare form of eye cancer that affects about 100 children annually in the United States and if left untreated can be fatal, usually within one year. Kyle’s dad remembers, “They said if we didn’t have the tumor removed, Kyle would have about three or four months to live. That was a shock.” The tumor in Kyle’s left eye was so large that his eye had to be removed to prevent the tumor from spreading. Kyle’s right eye was spared, but he had to undergo chemotherapy to shrink the remaining tumors and save his sight and his life.
Throughout his treatment, Kyle became interested in the game of golf. This was particularly interesting because neither of Kyle’s parents played golf or even owned golf clubs. “He wouldn’t let us change the channel from the Golf Channel,” Kyle’s dad recalls. Hours after having his left eye removed, Kyle was up and about, playing with his plastic set of golf clubs. Over the years, those plastic golf clubs have been replaced with real golf clubs and Kyle has become a well-known golfing phenomenon.
As a result of their experience with retinoblastoma, Kyle’s family started an organization called Through Kyle’s Eyes, which helps to raise awareness about and supports research for Retinoblastoma. From the foundation’s website:
“Retinoblastoma is a relatively uncommon tumor of childhood that accounts for about 3% of the cancers in children under the age of 15. The tumors originate in the retina, the light sensitive layer of the eye, which enables the eye to see. When the tumors are present in one eye, it is referred to as unilateral retinoblastoma, and when it occurs in both eyes it is referred to as bilateral retinoblastoma. 60% of the cases involve only one eye (unilateral); the rest affect both eyes (bilateral). 90% of retinoblastoma patients have no family history of the disease and only 10% of newly diagnosed patients have other family members with retinoblastoma.”
Early diagnosis and intervention is critical to the successful treatment of this disease. Common signs of retinoblastoma include:
- A white “glow” or “glint” in the pupil of one or both eyes in dim lighting
- White pupil in a color photo
- Crossed or misaligned eyes
For more information on the Through Kyle's Eyes Foundation, visit: www.kylelograsso.org.