Popoolá He said this was part of the activities of the International Retinoblastoma Workshop facilitated by the UITH Department of Ophthalmology.

There was talk on the sidelines of the training of health workers at the UITH.

Popoola explained that a six-man team from Israel is in the country to help Nigerian doctors build the capacity to be able to perform CAI on children with eye cancer, adding that this is the first of its kind.

The don, who teaches at the University of Ilorin’s College of Health Sciences, noted that UITH had been performing retinoblastoma surgeries for decades, adding that treatment has evolved over time.

“Eye cancer treatment for children at UITH has evolved from where we only manage to save lives, to one where we manage to save the eyes and not the vision. But over time we are able to save vision.” she said.

However, he lamented that many times when doctors cannot save sight, it is when parents present children late when the disease has advanced.

The eye disease expert added that IAC treatment has been used for some years in other countries, but due to the high cost of treatment “We haven’t been able to do it in Nigeria.

“The medical team from Israel has come to help us in the treatment of retinoblastoma to keep the children alive, with their eyeballs intact and their vision safe.” Popoola said.

He pointed out that although the UITH does not yet have the facilities for surgery, the hospital has been a support in the care of children with the disease and has become a reference center in the country.

Popoola further explained that three children from Taraba and Abuja were brought to the UITH for surgical interventions.

“However, the Israeli doctors and their Nigerian counterparts had to use the facilities of the First Consultant Hospital in Lagos, using the IAC to treat the three children.

“This is because there are no facilities for the intervention of the IAC in the UITH”, explained the gift.

He called on the federal government to establish the necessary retinoblastoma treatment facilities and laboratories at UITH, adding that around 400 children are expected to develop the disease each year in Nigeria.

The expert also advocated the establishment of health establishments dedicated to the treatment of eye diseases in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

In addition, the consultant called on all interested parties to finance the treatment of the disease, saying that it is a very expensive disease to manage and that the treatment is lifelong.

Professor Didi Fabianan ophthalmologist at Sheba Medical Center, Israel, explained that UITH facilitated procedures in which they were happy to participate.

He described retinoblastoma as an eye cancer that begins in the retina, which is the sensitive lining inside the eye.

According to him, the eye disease most commonly affects young children, but it can rarely occur in adults.

“The retina is made up of nervous tissue that detects light as it passes through the front of the eye. The retina sends signals through the optic nerve to the brain, where these signals are interpreted as images.

“The rare form of eye cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting the eye in children and can occur in one or both eyes.

“It occurs when nerve cells in the retina develop genetic mutations. These mutations cause cells to continue growing and multiplying when healthy cells would die. This accumulated mass of cells forms a tumor.” he said.

Fabian further explained that symptoms include eyes that seem to be looking in different directions, poor vision, redness and swelling of the eyes.

He added that due to the large population, Nigeria has a high burden of the disease, adding that the incidences are constant and subject to where there are high birth rates.