A girl’s glowing eye in a photograph had it removed the day after doctors found 10 tumours.
Mum-of-three Elly Smith first noticed the glow when taking a picture of five-year-old Gracie in May 2016.
Elly, from Oregon, US, said she suspected something was wrong when the glow kept reoccurring and it looked like Gracie had a lazy right eye.
The 38-year-old said she was horrified when doctors eventually told her it was rare cancer, retinoblastoma.
But the agony worsened after she went on to see specialists at Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – who revealed she had 10 tumours and would need her eye removed within 24 hours.
Elly said: “I knew something was wrong with Gracie because her eye would be glowing, and it looked like she had a lazy eye.
“I made her an appointment the day I noticed it and her doctor referred us to an eye doctor.
“I could tell something was wrong there and noticed the doctor’s chest getting red – I was just asking what was wrong.
“When we found out we tried to explain as best we could to a two-year-old and said her eye had an ‘owee’ and that the doctor had to take it out.
“We called home to her three brothers and told them.
“They were really upset too and we were all scared – but we had to think life before sight.”
Elly and Gracie, now five, flew to Wills Eye Hospital, where doctors counted 10 tumours in the eye and optical nerve.
They explained she’d need to have her eye removed the next day.
Ellie said: “I was a mess. We came there for a second opinion but never expected she’d need her eye out the next morning.”
Her husband Sean Corrigan flew to join them that night and Gracie’s eye was removed on June 1, 2016,16 days after her mother noticed the white flash in her eye.
She started chemotherapy two weeks later and had a port placed in her chest.
“The first two months were really hard on her,” Elly said. “She was nauseous and had neuropathy badly in her feet from the chemo.”
“We ended up finding a vitamin therapy doctor who helped us get vitamins through her port.”
Three months after her eye was removed, Gracie received her prosthetic eye.
Elly said: “The ocularist painted the eye while we were in there and then we came back the next day to pick it up.
“It was so emotional for me, I think I cried for the next 24 hours.
“When they make the eye you get to choose something to put on the top so you know which is the top of the eye – Gracie chose a horse.”
Gracie adapted to her new eye quickly and has made a full recovery.
She is still closely monitored, having tests every three months, but has had no problems so far.
Now, she lives with no restrictions, playing with other children her age and telling all of her friends about her “magic eye”.
Speaking of her new prosthetic eye, Elly said: “Gracie was fine with it. She is so resilient.
“She even has taken her spare eye in for show and tell! She has such an amazing spirit – she helped our family get through this.”