The Eye Department at Birmingham Children’s Hospital is a leading centre for the treatment of serious and rare eye conditions in children, and is one of only two centres in the UK that offers treatment for retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that most commonly affects babies and infants.

The 532 Mobile Laser was purchased almost two years ago and is now used on a weekly basis to treat children with eye cancers and other disorders that threaten their sight.

In Retinoblastoma patients, regular laser treatment is used to shrink and prevent the spread of the tumour in the back of the eye. Without treatment children can lose their sight and in some cases the eye itself. In the worst case scenario the cancer can spread and prove fatal. Whist retinoblastoma is incredibly traumatic and frightening for children and their families the treatment is highly effective, and most patients go on to lead a normal and fulfilling lives.

The laser is also one of the key treatments for Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) which occurs in premature babies, and requires immediate treatment in order to prevent loss of sight.

Ayla’s Story

Ayla was born prematurely at just 26 weeks. A fighter from the start, she faced an enormous battle and spent the first eight months of her life in Neonatal Intensive Care at Birmingham Women’s Hospital with her mum and dad at her side.  Initially given only a 10% chance of survival little Ayla defied the odds and, after numerous setbacks and surgical interventions, she began to slowly gain strength.

After such a difficult start in life, Ayla’s parents were devastated when she was diagnosed with Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP), a condition that affects very premature babies, and which, if left untreated, can cause permanent sight loss.

Dad Adris explains “When we learned that Ayla could be blind, our world just fell apart. After the rollercoaster of her first few months, it really felt like the final blow. The thought of how it would affect the rest of her life was just terrifying.”

Although ROP had already damaged Ayla’s peripheral vision, the team from our Eye Department felt that treatment using the 532 Mobile Laser could help save what remained of her sight. Ayla received laser treatment on both of her eyes which thankfully was successful.

“Laser treatment was really the only glimmer of hope that we had” says Adris “The fact that she is still able to see us and take an interest in the world around her is beyond priceless. The impact of the treatment will last beyond my lifetime and for all of hers. We cannot thank the staff from the Eye Department enough for saving our daughter’s precious sight, and I simply do not have the words to convey my gratitude to the donor who funded this amazing, life changing equipment.”