Eye Cancer - in children (Retinoblastoma)
Retinoblastoma is an uncommon form of eye cancer that affects young children. Most of the children get one tumor, but a third of those affected get tumors in both eyes.
In most cases, patients with retinoblastoma have a good prognosis. St. Erik Eye Hospital specializes in diagnosing and treating retinoblastoma and ocular melanoma (eye cancer in adults). We are responsible for Sweden's national ophthalmic oncology and ophthalmic pathology service and provide the only ophthalmic pathology laboratory in Sweden.
Retinoblastoma can be hereditary, and therefore genetic counseling may be necessary. If a child has been treated for bilateral retinoblastoma, the child's family is usually referred to the department of clinical genetics at Karolinska University Hospital to determine whether relatives carry the condition. It is important, for example, if there are more children in the family.
The first and most common symptom of retinoblastoma is that the pupils look different; the normally black pupil becomes whitish. Some children with retinoblastoma also have strabismus.
In the case of suspected retinoblastoma, the ophthalmologist thoroughly examines the fundus to establish a diagnosis. The eye, including the retina and the optic nerve, is also examined.
To confirm the diagnosis of retinoblastoma, we supplement the examination with an ultrasound. During this process, we also check whether there are tumors in both eyes or a tumor in only one eye.
All treatment for retinoblastoma strives to preserve the greatest possible visual function and avoid the spread of the tumor outside the eye.
The treatment is either medical or surgical, and the chosen form depends on how widespread the disease is and whether the child has unilateral or bilateral retinoblastoma.
Read more about treatment under Eye cancer – ocular melanoma