Baby photo reveals eye cancer

Baby fights for sight after rare disease discovered in snapshot


Mum-of-three Samantha Rouse visited her GP and insisted her baby boy was unwell after noticing his eye looked white in a photo she’d taken.


Doctors found three large tumours in 9-month-old Jacob’s left eye and three smaller ones in his right eye threatening his sight.

The tumours were caused by retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer that can spread rapidly. Jacob, who has already gone blind in his left eye, is now undergoing chemotherapy and laser-treatment every three weeks in the hope of saving the sight in his other eye, as well as his life.

The diagnosis came as a complete shock to the Rouse family from Hull.

“He’s been so brave,” proud mum Samantha enthused about Jacob. “Of course he has off days, and he gets sick after the chemotherapy, but to look at him you wouldn’t think anything was the matter. He’s such a happy boy.

“I would definitely urge other parents to check their children’s eyes. If it hadn’t been for me taking photos and insisting he got checked, he might have already lost his sight.”

The glare of the camera picked up Jacob’s problem by revealing light sensitive cells in his eyes that couldn’t be seen face-to-face. Signs of retinoblastoma include a ‘cat’s eye reflection’ in photographs, a black eye on flash photographs, a cloudy eye or squint. If you have any similar concerns about your child, talk to your doctor.


The rare cancer affects around 50 children every year. Treatment is effective, with 95% of cases surviving, particularly if treated early. 

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