Baby spotted with 'golden glow' around eye proudly shows off his prosthetic a year on

Mason is now a healthy, happy toddler. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Mason is now a healthy, happy toddler. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook

In June, 2015, Sarah Bowers noticed a golden glow in her 16-week-old baby boy Mason's eye while taking photos of him in the bath.

Bowers, 30, from New Zealand, rushed her little boy to specialists who told her Mason was completely blind in his left eye and recommended the eye be removed to confirm whether it was due to Coats Disease or Retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer.

Relief flooded over the family when Mason was diagnosed with Coats Disease, but the challenges were far from over as the little boy now needed to learn to live with a prosthetic eye, which he received on Christmas Eve, 2015.

Specialists recommended Mason's eye be removed to see if it was Coats Disease or Retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Specialists recommended Mason's eye be removed to see if it was Coats Disease or Retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook

But now, more than a year on from receiving his new eye, the little boy is healthy and happy and will turn two years old on Sunday.

"He is just such a big boy now and he's so amazing. He is doing so well and learning so much and is now finally working all the eye stuff out himself," Bowers told Daily Mail Australia.

"The moment we saw him with the eye was pretty amazing, it was just so cool. When he has it in you almost forget.

"Of course he has his own little challenges and it is quite prone to getting infected at times but other than that we just go to the doctor once a year to get checked and have the eye polished and cleaned."

Bowers, who runs the page Little Mason's Journey to update everyone on his progress and raise awareness for Coats Disease, said it's been amazing to see the reactions of family, friends and followers.

"It was fantastic - we didn't tell anyone and we just turned up and surprised everybody," she said.

"No one can believe it. When we tell people one of his eyes isn't real they are blown away. And now he is just so happy and healthy and you can't even tell."

Mason's mum says he is doing well and "working all the eye stuff out himself". Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Mason's mum says he is doing well and "working all the eye stuff out himself". Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook

Bowers often looks back over the past two years at everything the family has been through and struggles to believe it.

"I look back over it all and I just can't believe it even happened. It feels like a dream... I just don't know how we made it through," she said.

"We are just so thankful. Obviously one eye isn't ideal but we try not to shelter Mason too much - he lives a pretty normal life.

"A lot of people will say 'Oh how are you' when I tell them about Mason and I sound so fine with it. But that is because it's a couple of years later and we are in such a good place now - it was the best possible outcome out of the two."

Between chasing her cheeky two-year-old around and making sure he hasn't rubbed his eye out, Bowers spends a great deal of time raising awareness for 'Know the Glow' - a campaign alerting people to the telltale gold or white tint that appears in the eyes of children in photos.

"Too often, children who exhibit gold or white-glowing pupils go untreated, until it is too late. Knowledge is the answer. Support is the answer. YOU are the answer," the campaign reads.

"It's getting a lot more coverage now which is really good," Bowers said.

"Please check your photos and check for the glow. In hindsight I think in all the photos I took I can see something - but it's easy to say that now."

Mason is pictured after getting his new prosthetic eye on Christmas Eve, 2015. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Mason is pictured after getting his new prosthetic eye on Christmas Eve, 2015. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook

While everything is going wonderfully now, the past year hasn't been smooth sailing - with Mason removing his eye a number of times since getting his prosthetic.

In early days he also tried to eat it and on others, he would accidentally rub it and it would fall out.

Other than that, the eye was the best Christmas present the then nine-month-old baby could have asked for.

Bowers told Daily Mail Australia at the time that she broke down in tears when Mason was fitted with the prosthetic, which even has a limited amount of movement.

"It was amazing. I got so used to him having just one eye. I had forgotten what it was like when he had two eyes. It's so well done," she said.

"I can't even describe the feeling. [I was a] bit lost for words."

Sarah Bowers said at the time that she broke down in tears when Mason was fitted with the prosthetic. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Sarah Bowers said at the time that she broke down in tears when Mason was fitted with the prosthetic. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook



Bowers first knew something was wrong with the glow after recalling a story she had read while pregnant about a boy who had Coats Disease - for which a glowing eye was a symptom.

"We were bathing him by the fire and taking photos and we noticed he had this golden glow in one eye and red eye in the other," she said.

"All the photos had it, not just one, because his pupil was filled with this golden fluid."

The next morning, Bowers took Mason to their GP and was immediately referred to an eye specialist, who confirmed Mason was 100 per cent blind in his left eye.

Mason had never shown any signs of being blind and with words like Coats Disease and Retinoblastoma being mentioned, Bowers couldn't believe what was happening.

"I was just finding my feet as a new mum... it's hard," Bowers said at the time.

"Just as I felt like I was finding them this happened and it just really shook us and made our hearts sink."

Sarah Bowers noticed a golden glow in her baby son's eye in June, 2015. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook
Sarah Bowers noticed a golden glow in her baby son's eye in June, 2015. Photo / Little Mason's Journey Facebook

Tests later confirmed Mason had a detached retina and had no hope of recovering his sight.

The results, while upsetting for Mason's family, were not all bad as they showed Mason's eye did not have exact similarities with those who had eye cancer.

While this gave Mason's family hope, a biopsy could not be performed as it could spread whatever disease was in the eye, into the other eye and his body.

Specialists recommended they remove Mason's eye completely as it was a safer option and they would then be able to place the eye under a microscope and diagnose what was wrong.

"It wasn't what we envisioned at all," Bowers said. "It was heart-breaking to hear because he's just so beautiful when you look at him and you'd never think anything was wrong."


After further testing, Bowers was told that there was no sign of cancer in Mason's body, but that Mason's eye should still be removed as doctors could not guarantee that his eye was cancer free.

His eye was removed and doctors discovered he did not have cancer, only Coats Disease.

"If I could save or help just one family through all this, I will be so happy," Bowers said.

For the family now though, it is life as normal, aside from yearly visits to have Mason's prosthetic checked and re-sized.

- Daily Mail

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