Henry Ford eye cancer specialists are experienced in diagnosing and managing retinoblastoma, a rare eye tumor.

Retinoblastoma is a rare type of tumor that develops in the retina, the lining on the inside back of the eye. Retinoblastoma typically affects very young children. Left untreated, the cancer can spread to other areas of the body.

Retinoblastoma causes

Retinoblastoma is caused by genetic mutations in the nerve cells that line the retina, although the exact cause of these mutations is not always known. In some cases, the disease is inherited, and children who have a family history of retinoblastoma may be at increased risk for developing the disease.

Retinoblastoma symptoms

In retinoblastoma, one or both eyes may be affected. Visible symptoms may include:

  • White spots in the pupil or a completely white pupil, especially in photos taken with a flash
  • Different iris colors in each eye (the iris is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil)
  • Eyes that don’t align
  • Eye pain
  • Vision disturbances

Retinoblastoma treatment

Your child’s physician will determine the most appropriate retinoblastoma treatment based on a number of factors, including the location of the tumor, its size, whether or not the tumor has spread as well as your child’s medical history. Retinoblastoma treatment options may include:

  • Surgery
  • Radiation therapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Photocoagulation (laser therapy)
  • Cryotherapy (freezing therapy)

Even after retinoblastoma treatment, there is a risk that the cancer may return. Given this, your child’s retinoblastoma treatment plan will include a detailed follow-up exam schedule.

At Henry Ford, patients come first.

The Henry Ford Department of Ophthalmology is committed to providing our patients with compassionate, personalized care. We feature the most advanced treatments in eye care and are dedicated to vision research – always staying at the forefront of innovation. A leader in Michigan, as well as one of the largest ophthalmology practices in the United States, we treat more than 55,000 patients per year at 12 locations throughout southeast Michigan. In addition, our team works closely with Henry Ford Medical Group physicians in other departments, providing multidisciplinary, coordinated care for those patients who need it.

Take the next step

Request an appointment with eye cancer experts, call (888) 777-4167.


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