Disease spotlight: Retinoblastoma

In the coming months, we’ll be featuring eye diseases both common and obscure, for your information. As always, if there is anything you are particularly curious about, feel free to contact us for more information!

Basic Definition:

Retinoblastoma is a form of eye cancer that causes a tumor to form on the retina (sensitive layer of tissue that lines the eye). The disease can be (but is not necessarily) genetic. Retinoblastoma can be unilateral (in one eye only) or bilateral (in both eyes). It is possible for retinoblastoma to metastasize to other parts of the body.

Who it affects:

Retinoblastoma typically affects young children, but can rarely develop in adults as well.


  • Swelling of the eyes
  • A white color to the pupil when light is shone in the eyes, similar to the reflection of light in a cat’s eyes.
  • Eyes that appear to be looking in opposite directions
  • Eye redness


There are a variety of treatment options depending on the severity of the cancer. Some options include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Laser Therapy
  • Cold Treatments
  • Hot Treatments
  • Surgery

More information about each of theses treatments, and about retinoblastoma, can be found at the following link: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/retinoblastoma/DS00786


Keep in mind that many of the symptoms listed above are not necessarily indicative of retinoblastoma. If you notice anything about your vision or your child’s vision that concerns you, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor to check into it.