As part of their professional curriculum, students in the Doctor of Optometry program learn to conduct comprehensive pediatric eye exams and to assess for retinoblastoma. Optometry students from Summer Fellowship Training Program at the Rosenberg School of Optometry (UIW) are participating in a collaborative research project with the Greehey Children’s Cancer Research Institute that aims to investigate the molecular basis of retinoblastoma. Some of the results obtained from this collaboration have been presented in October at the 2013 American Academy of Optometry Meeting in Seattle, WA, and at the 2014 Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology Meeting in Orlando, CA.
Retinoblastoma is the most common pediatric ocular tumor and accounts for 4% of all malignancies in patients under the age of 15. Although a 90% survival is achieved after treatment, a combination of early diagnosis and more effective therapies is needed to improve patients’ quality of life.