Facebook Photo of Little Girl May Have Saved Her Eyesight

eyeOh Facebook, you never know what you’ll turn up. Whether it’s exes spying on each other, adopted children finding birth parents, or the latest viral video, Facebook always has a surprise.

We’re pretty much all in the middle of a love/hate relationship with Facebook, aren’t we? I’ve deactivated and reactivated my account a million times, have uninstalled and installed the app on my phone about the same amount — always with good intentions — but most of the time Facebook makes me feel like I’m back in high school. Literally. I see all the same people every day because we’re all friends again.

Never fear, this latest Facebook story making the Internet rounds is a happy one. Tara Taylor figured she was posting another cute photo of her 3-year-old Rylee, but little did she know it would result in possibly saving the girl’s eyesight.

A friend saw the photo and noted the strange glow in Rylee’s left eye. She immediately sent Tara a text.

“I knew from a friend that a glow in the eye from a picture can mean there’s something wrong with the eye,” Carter told TODAY. “I just texted Tara and told her, ‘Hey, it could be nothing, it could just be the flash, but there could be something wrong with Rylee’s eye.'”

In case it was a fluke of the camera Rylee’s parents took more pictures, but the glow showed up in every photo. A trip to the doctor confirmed her friend’s suspicions. An eye exam revealed Rylee has Coats disease, a rare retinal disorder.

Coats disease involves the abnormal development of the blood vessels behind the retina. It can cause swelling, detachment and eventually vision loss, if not caught early enough. If it’s detected early enough, like Rylee’s, treatments involving laser therapy can save or restore a person’s eyesight.

Had the friend not spotted the strange glow, Rylee’s case may have gone undiagnosed for some time because, while warning signs may include an eye drifting inward or a noticeable loss of vision, Rylee didn’t exhibit any of those symptoms. “She didn’t sit close to the TV. She is actually in gymnastics and can walk on the balance beam, so there was no indication that there were any visual problems with her left eye,” Tara told WREG Memphis.

Doctors warn you should never ignore an eye with a glow like Rylee’s. Dr. Jorge Calzada tells Yahoo Shine, “If you see that odd reflection or lack of a red reflex, get a dilated-eye exam,” he says. It could be a warning sign not only of Coats, but also of problems including a cataract, retinal detachment or even retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumor of the retina. “Thank God the child did not have that.”

Three cheers for Facebook! For today, anyway. Tomorrow your homophobic sister-in-law will probably be ranting about some judge’s decision to allow gay marriage somewhere before she offers up her daily scripture … But for today — yay, Facebook.

Bet you’re headed over to Facebook to check your photos for glowing eyes, right?

Image: YouTube

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