Some children treated with total body radiation develop cataracts. How the radiation is administered affects the childs chance of developing this complication. If the total body radiation (TBI) is given in one dose, approximately 80 percent of children develop cataracts. If the TBI is given in smaller doses over several days (fractionated), the chance of developing cataracts is much lower (20 percent). Almost all protocols now use fractionated TBI.
My 8-year-old daughter is six years out from the full body radiation used to prepare her for bone marrow transplant. She had the first of two cataract surgeries Tuesday. It was an outpatient procedure, and she was a real trooper. The doctor was able to insert a permanent replacement lens, which is a good thing since it means we don't have to do the contact lens thing. I can't wait for the day when radiation is no longer a treatment for cancer Until then I have to acknowledge begrudging thanks, because it saved my baby's life.
Decreased tear production is common in children with chronic GVHD but is also seen in patients with no GVHD.
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