Facebook photo of Tenn. child reveals rare condition

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Like most parents, Tara Taylor posted a picture of her three-year-old daughter Rylee on Facebook to show to friends.

She was proud because her daughter had fixed her own hair like a princess.

Taylor had no idea how that picture would end up helping her daughter.

The picture showed her daughter’s left eye glowing.

While most people would have thought it was caused by the flash, two of Taylor’s friends told her she might want to have a doctor take a look at her eye.

“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,’” said Taylor.

Rylee was taken to her pediatrician and later to a retina specialist with Baptist Eye Clinic.

She was diagnosed with Coat’s disease.

It’s a rare condition that causes vision loss or blindness in one eye.

Dr. Jorge Calzada with the Charles Retina Institute and Baptist Eye Clinic said the earlier they can treat children the better.

“The significant problem we have with children is that a child won’t say Mommy I can’t see out of my right eye. It is usually caught in an expected 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,” said Dr. Calzada.

Taylor said she had no indication her daughter was having any trouble seeing.

In fact, she says it was quite the opposite.

“She didn’t sit close to the TV. She is actually in gymnastics and can walk on the balance beam,” said Taylor.

She’s grateful to the friends who pointed out the potential problem.

Baptist received a $550,000 grant from the Baptist Memorial Health Care foundation to open its ‘state of the art’ eye clinic at the Women’s Hospital.

The eye clinic treats children and even premature babies.


  • Crystal Kirsch

    My son was 16 months old with pictures like this and he had retinoblastoma a cancer of the retina in the eye, he is now 10 and has been cancer free going on 9 years. He has a left prosthetic eye, because he lost that eye to cancer. But the only symptom that told us something was wrong was this “cat eye” reflex, like the one in this photo. Glad to hear her’s was not cancer!!!

  • Borb Stevenson

    This is also how my sister realized something was wrong with my nephew. He also had retinalblastoma, at 14 months he was diagnosed. He is now 10 years old and cancer free, but he also had to have a prosthetic eye. I like to mention that thanks to Emory eye center in Atlanta and the event they sponsor.RB(retinoblastoma) kids day. They’re on there 15th year of this event. Its just a day for child ssurvivors and they families to share their stories and put some attention on this little known cancer.

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