A TUMOUR took away two-year-old Mia Louden’s left eye.
Now the Kirkstall toddler has a prosthetic substitute which she calls her special eye.
In February Mia was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, which is caused by a mutation in a gene controlling cell division, causing cells to grow out of control and become cancerous.
Little Mia, her mother Melinda, father Dale and four-month-old sister Nixie, had a whirlwind experience from diagnosis to treatment.
“We saw the optometrist on the Wednesday, the eye specialist on the Friday and we were in the Royal Children’s Hospital by the Monday,” Mrs Louden said.
“It has all been a bit crazy. I don’t think it has sunk in and registered.
“There was some kind of niggle though, I knew there was something not quite right.
“Nothing has stopped her though, she is still full of life.”
Mrs Louden said, with hindsight, she noticed symptoms in Mia from about four months old, with her left eye tracking in a different direction to her right.
“At about seven to eight months, photos we had taken with the flash would show a silver spot instead of red eye,” she said.
“That is one of the big, easy signs.
“We found out the tumour was over her optical nerve and down the bottom of the retina. I think it took up one third of her eye.
“There are many things you notice but then that’s hindsight.
“It was recommended that the eye be removed. It could have been treated by chemotherapy but they couldn’t guarantee that sight would be retained at a good enough level.”
Mrs Louden said retinoblastoma occurred in two forms: genetic, or heritable, and non-genetic, non-heritable.
She said the family was still waiting to know what form Mia’s tumour was.
“If it’s the genetic or heritable form then that could affect Mia’s children and our daughter Nixie,” she said.
“We’re not doing too bad. We had fantastic care at the Royal Children’s.
“It hasn’t held her back at all. She’s so little that she will easily learn and adapt with her prosthetic eye.”
Warrnambool ophthalmologist Roland Bunting said the cancer was extremely rare and anecdotally there were about 12 cases in Australia a year.
Dr Bunting said Mia presented with a squint and her eyes were not aligned properly.
“It was a very aggressive tumour in her eye,” he said.“It was the largest I had seen.
“Basically it’s very unusual but if picked up in time it can be life saving. Unfortunately in this case it wasn’t eye saving.”
Mrs Louden said given World Retinoblastoma Awareness Week runs from May 13 to May 19, she wanted parents to be aware of the signs and to see an optometrist.