It’s nice to know that for every scumbag assistant principal who bullies little kids on Facebook, there’s a story like this to go with it: A three-year-old’s sight has been saved, thanks to her mother’s friends catching a telltale symptom of a rare eye condition in a Facebook photo featuring the little girl.
According to WREG Memphis, proud mama Tara Taylor recently posted the photo in question to Facebook after her daughter, Rylee, managed to fix her own hair “like a princess” (awwww!). Taylor thought nothing of the fact that Rylee’s left eye was glowing white; like most of us probably would have done, she assumed it was a result of the camera’s flash. Two of her friends, however, spotted it and knew that it might be indicative of something bigger: “They said, ‘Hey, I’m sure it’s nothing, it’s probably the lighting, but your daughter’s eye is glowing and you might want to have it checked out because it’s a sign there could be an issue with her eye,’” Taylor told the news station.
Taylor heeded her friends’ warnings (score one for good parenting!) and took Rylee first to her pediatrician, and later to a retina specialist at the Baptist Eye Clinic—and it’s a good thing she did, because the specialist diagnosed her with Coats’ disease. An extremely rare, congential, nonhereditary disorder, Coats’ disease results in a gradual loss of vision as blood leaks from abnormal vessels into the back of the eye (yikes!); the leakage leaves cholesterol deposits behind, damaging the retina. In some cases, the eye may ultimately have to be removed.
According to Dr. Jorge Calzada of the Charles Retina Institute and Baptist Eye Clinic, the earlier they can catch the disorder, the better—and since Rylee’s was identified before vision loss had begun, she’s in excellent shape. “The significant problem we have with children is that a child won’t say, ‘Mommy, I can’t see out of my right eye,’" he said. "It is usually caught in an unexpected way. When a child recognizes he cannot see or the parent recognizes they cannot see, it’s often because they’ve lost vision in both eyes.”
Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief — and make sure that we all take ourselves and our kids for regular eye exams, even if it doesn’t look like they’re needed. You never know what they might find.