Earlier this year CHECT launched the Art4Eyes competition to raise awareness of retinoblastoma. Thousands of children at schools and clubs up and down the UK and Channel Islands took part in the challenge to produce a piece of art around the theme of eyes for a chance to win a share of prizes worth £3,000.
We are thrilled to reveal the regional and national winners here and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who took part - the judging process, carried out by Vision Express and artist Daniel Pincham-Phipps was not an easy task! All regional winners received a supply of paints from Turners Arts and overall winners received a professional photoshoot courtesy of Clara Lou Photography.
Many congratulations go to Barlow Hall School in Chorlton and the Christian Fellowship School in Liverpool for their impressive artworks for the age 5-7 category and age 8-11 category, respectively.
Regional winners, age 5-7 category
Regional winners, age 8-11 category
Article by Mr Manoj Parulekar, Consultant Ophthalmologist, Birmingham Children's Hospital
Despite many advances in the treatment of retinoblastoma, some cases will present at an advanced stage and require surgery to remove the eye (enucleation). It is essential to give the affected individual the best possible surgical result, and follow it up with optimum artificial eye(prosthesis) fitting.
Currently prostheses are made of PMMA (Poly methyl methacrylate). The cosmesis and colour match can be very good, but PMMA is a heavy material. In some cases where the artificial eye needs to be larger to compensate for volume deficiency or to lift up a droopy eyelid, the large eye can, over a period of time stretch the lower eyelid.
Another issue is colour matching. Although the colour matching in most eyes is very good, it can be a challenge in eyes with mixed colours eg hazel.
A third issue is rotational stability. It is not uncommon for prosthesis to rotate within the socket due to unusual socket shapes.
As part of the socket service in Birmingham Children’s Hospital, we deal with difficult sockets, both post enucleation as well as for children born without eyes (anophthalmia), and are working on ways to improve the results for these cases.
We are currently exploring 3D printing technology as a potential method. However, there are several hurdles including availability of suitable biomaterials that will pass the medical device specification, as well as achieving true to life colour match. Another idea is to create a soft foldable (but sufficiently firm) artificial eye that can be folded and inserted into the socket.
This is an open call to friends and families of the CHECT community who might be able to provide us with contacts who have the technical knowledge to contribute to this endeavour.
We have launched a new initiative which we hope you will be able to join. It’s called ‘Friends of CHECT’.
Of course, if you are a member you are already a friend of the Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT) but this is something a little different. ‘Friends of CHECT’ is designed to formally recognise how much we value our members and supporters, whilst at the same time addressing the need for secure funding.
Over the last 25 years our funds have come mostly from individuals or through fundraising activities. CHECT receives no Government funding and has very little regular, predictable income. However, most of our costs are still regular and have to be maintained. This absence of guaranteed income makes it very difficult for us to respond to everything our members tell us is important and making the changes we would like is not always possible.
With a donation from as little as £3 per month you can join our ‘Friends of CHECT’ programme and this would help our GP awareness campaign reach the widest possible audience or set up a network of support for Rb teenagers. If a little more was given each month, we could develop solid future plans regarding research and support. You will then become a ‘Friend of CHECT’ and receive a lapel badge and a car sticker, which will raise awareness of Rb too. We will also send you regular updates on how your contribution is making a difference.
For more information and an application form click on the links below to download.