What is it?

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer that typically appears in children under the age of 5. This cancer develops fast, developing first in the retina of the eye. In approximately ⅔ of cases, retinoblastoma only affects one eye at a time.

In very rare instances, it may occur in young adults, but this condition usually only affects children.

How does it happen?

In some cases, retinoblastoma is hereditary, caused by a genetic defect when the child is developing. The genetic-related cases are typically diagnosed before the age of 1. In other occurrences, the cases are usually diagnosed around the age of 2.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of retinoblastoma may first appear at a very early age and get worse over time. These symptoms may include:

  • A round, white spot in the center of the eye, noticeable when light hits the eye
  • Eyes looking in different directions
  • Eye redness
  • Eye swelling
  • Eye pain as the tumor grows

What are my risk factors?

Babies and young children are at risk if the disease runs in their family or if they are born with a genetic defect related to their eyes.

How is it diagnosed and treated?

An eye doctor can test for the condition through a comprehensive eye exam. It may be necessary to include imaging tests, such as a CT scan or an MRI to check for retinoblastoma.

Since retinoblastoma is a form of cancer, treatment is much more aggressive compared to other eye conditions. Treatment may include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, laser therapy, and surgery. If surgery is necessary, the affected eyeball may be removed and replaced with an artificial eye.

How can I prevent it from happening?

There is no known way to prevent this genetic condition from happening, as it is usually present at birth.

If your child is experiencing similar symptoms to retinoblastoma, contact us today.