Retinoblastoma: Geriatric Implications of a Pediatric Cancer

Rachel L. Panton1,
Catharine Ramsey, Brenda L. Gallie1,2,3
1Department of Ophthalmology,
2The Hospital for Sick Children; Cancer Informatics, Ontario Cancer Institute/Princess Margaret Hospital, University Health Network;
3Departments of Ophthalmology and Molecular and Medical Genetics, University of Toronto.

Only as a grandmother, did Catharine Ramsey learn what had caused the loss of her eye in infancy, information that was to change the life of her entire family.

"I was born on January 19, 1939, adopted as an infant and raised in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. On September 26, 1940 my left eye was removed due to 'eye problems'. Throughout my life, I was told 'you were sick when you were a baby and had to have your eye out!'

I often asked my ophthalmologist why this had happened to me, but I did not receive any clear answers. When my daughter Margaret married, I asked again if there was any information I needed to pass along to my children. I was told that there wasn't any.

My beautiful granddaughter, Jennifer, was born November 6, 1988. She was perfect, or so we thought. My daughter repeatedly questioned the baby's doctor about why Jennifer's eyes were not tracking together. This appearance was barely noticeable and the doctor assured her that 'the baby was only trying to look at the bridge of her nose and would grow out of it.