(KTVK/CNN) — A common flaw seen in photos is credited with saving a baby’s life. An Arizona mother linked the “red eye” in her daughter’s pictures to a tumor.
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, in this case, what Joanna Murphy saw behind the cute face of her baby Elizabeth in photographs, ultimately saved her daughter’s life.
A golden glow in Elizabeth’s eye was Murphy’s first indication something was wrong.
She said “I was going through my Facebook newsfeed and saw an article about this aunt saved her toddler’s life by what she noticed in a picture. I thought oh, that’s interesting, we have some pictures that my mom has taken of her flash photos where I’ve seen that kind of a white glow come out of her right eye.”
With a pediatric eye specialist’s diagnosis, doctors quickly confirmed Murphy’s suspicion. Elizabeth had what’s called retinoblastoma. “There was quite a big tumor that her retina had been fully detached and probably for some time.”
Murphy says she and her husband have no family history of this. Of the 100-200 cases diagnosed in the U.S. every year, more than half are genetically linked.
It’s been less than two months since Elizabeth had her eye removed, but she doesn’t seem to know the difference. She does everything you would expect babies to at her age — just with one eye.
Despite everything Elizabeth has gone through in her first few months in the world, her mother says she can’t help but feel blessed because doctors caught the tumor early, which is the best case scenario she could have hoped for.
“When you’re at the children’s hospital, you see there’s so many sick kids and you know you just are grateful that, OK, in the grand scheme of things, it’s not that big of a deal. She’s going to be fine.”