Common Eye Problems
Information on a range of common eye conditions and problems
Retinoblastoma is a rare type of eye cancer which causes the cells of the retina to grow rapidly and out of control. It occurs most often in children aged 5 years old and younger. Around 40 to 50 children are diagnosed with retinoblastoma each year in the UK.
What are the symptoms?
- Abnormal reflex in the pupil – usually the affected pupil reflects white, like a cat’s eye
- A squint
- Poor vision – eyes not moving or focusing in the same direction
- The pupil is constantly dilated
About 40% of all cases of retinoblastoma are inherited so children with a family history are screened for the condition shortly after birth.
An eye specialist can diagnose retinoblastoma with an eye examination and imaging test.
Because it is usually found early, retinoblastoma is highly curable and in most cases is treated before the cancer spreads outside the eyeball. Birmingham Children’s Hospital and the Royal London Hospital have specialist retinoblastoma teams, and with treatment the success rate is over 98%. There are many types of treatments that can save sight in the eye affected – they are selected based on the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis and the size of the tumour.
Eliza Thomas was three years old when she wa diagnosed with retinoblastoma and she had her left eye removed a week later to save her life. Her mum April tells her story.
Childhood Eye Cancer Trust (CHECT UK)
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