Severe Kids’ Retinoblastoma Symptoms

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of kids’ eye cancer. Symptoms range in severity, and in some cases no symptoms at all are present. The most common symptom that assists in diagnosis is a white spot known as luekocoria on the pupil that is visible when light is shown on the eye, especially during photographs. To assist in early detection, the pupils are dilated and a light is shown into the eye while inspection is done with a microscope to check for this abnormality. However, in severe cases the eye discoloration is clearly visible to the naked eye.

Visible Kids’ Retinoblastoma Symptoms

While leukocoria is the most common visible sign of kids’ retinoblastoma, it is not the only visible sign. Other eye abnormalities may indicate retinoblastoma, so parents and pediatricians should be alert for any eye irregularities. Symptoms may worsen over time, so if a new eye abnormality has become visible, parents should request examination by a medical professional as soon as possible. These symptoms can be present with other eye disorders as well, so retinoblastoma may not be the cause in all cases.

Visible eye abnormalities that may indicate retinoblastoma include:

  • Redness in the pupil or whites of the eye
  • Persistently dilated pupils
  • Crossed eyes, or one eye that “floats”
  • Vision complications
  • Different colored irises
  • Pupils that do not dilate when exposed to light
  • Bulging eyes

Painful Symptoms

Retinoblastoma may cause eye pain, especially if the disease has been allowed to progress. Retinoblastoma can be a very aggressive form of kids’ cancer, and as the tumor grows it puts intense pressure on the eye and the orbital cavity. This pain can spread into other regions as the cancer grows, causing headaches, sinus pressure, and even bone pain.

Development Disorders in Severe Kids’ Retinoblastoma

If retinoblastoma tumors go untreated for extended periods of time, these tumors can change the way that the child develops. Over time, this can cause facial malformations. While this degree of severity is uncommon in developed countries, proper treatment may be inaccessible by families in developing countries, causing the child to suffer through symptoms of increasing severity.

Retinoblastoma Death

If left untreated for an extended period of time, retinoblastoma can cause death. The cure rate of retinoblastoma is about 90 percent in developed nations such as the United States, but this rate can vary dramatically in developing countries depending on the level of care available. The average survival rate for kids’ retinoblastoma in developing nations is about 50 percent.


“How is Retinoblastoma Diagnosed.” American Cancer Society. American Cancer Society, 06 Aug 2012. Web. 12 Dec 2013. <>.

“Retinoblastoma.” Medline Plus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, 31 Oct 2013. Web. 12 Dec 2013. <>.

“Retinoblastoma.” Nemours, n.d. Web. 12 Dec 2013. <