• Can Farsightedness Cause White Reflex in Photos?


    Question:

    My 4-year-old has the signs of leukocoria (white reflection, or reflex, rather than normal red reflection) in all flash photography taken of her so we took her for an eye exam. The ophthalmologist said she was extremely farsighted (+4.25) but didn't see anything else wrong. I was wondering if extreme farsightedness can cause the "white pupil reflex" in pictures. It seems very strange to us that she would have poor vision, as she is able to read extremely small print and has never complained about her vision. She has no symptoms of her eyes crossing or squinting. We are wondering with the severity of possible diseases associated with leukocoria if we need another opinion from another eye doctor.


    Answer:

    I am guessing that you consistently see the whitish reflex in one eye rather than both. The leukocoria, if a symptom of disease, is due to something causing a white reflex rather than the normal red reflex one sees in the eye in a photograph taken using a flash. The two main causes for this would be advanced cataract and/or retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye). At the age of 4, these would long ago have manifested themselves in visual loss, misalignment of the eyes and obvious damage. Could you have an odd flash which distorts the color and produces a 'pseudo white reflex”?

    You have done the right thing by having an ophthalmologist check your child and it does seem unlikely there is disease but only farsightedness. You do have some anxiety about this and apparently the first exam did not satisfy your concern. It would be reasonable to seek another ophthalmologist and bring in some of the photos. Also, check your child's eyes in a darkened room by placing a penlight in between your eyes aimed at your daughter and see if you detect red reflex in both eyes which would eliminate any color distortion or light problem from your camera (you might take some photos with another camera as well).


    Answered By: