What is Retinoblastoma and Can it be Cured?

Mon Dec 13 2021

Retinoblastoma is a type of cancer that develops in the eye’s retina (which is the portion that sends visual information to the brain). It is one of the most commonly found eye cancers in children and typically develops before the child turns two years old. Fortunately, most children do survive the disease, but they may end up losing their vision in the process.

Symptoms of Retinoblastoma 

Some cancers present very mild symptoms that make detection very difficult. Fortunately, this is not the case with retinoblastoma. As a layperson, you’ll be able to spot tell-tale signs in your child if you know what to look for. If you do happen to spot any of the following retinoblastoma symptoms, make sure you consult an ophthalmologist immediately:

  • Discolouration or any cloudiness in the eyes (especially in the centre)
  • Altered red reflex of the eye in a photo may also be an early sign of retinoblastoma
  • Squinting of eyes
  • Redness in the white portion of the eye
  • Eyes appearing larger than normal
  • Problems with the vision
  • Eye pain

Different types of Retinoblastoma Treatments

Based on the stage of the disease, your oncologist may suggest any of the following retinoblastoma treatments:

  1. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is one of the most common treatments for cancer. It is used to shrink tumors until they disappear entirely.
  2. Cryotherapy: A metal probe is used to expose the tumor to extreme cold. This helps kill the tumor cells.
  3. Laser Therapy: Lasers can be used for retinoblastoma treatment to destroy blood vessels that help the tumors grow. Once the blood supply is cut off, the tumor dies.
  4. Thermotherapy: In this retinoblastoma treatment, lasers are used to kill tumors with heat.
  5. Radiation: Radioactive material is used to shrink tumors. In one form of radiotherapy, a radioactive metallic plate is temporarily placed over the tumor to selectively target the tumor.
  6. Surgery: If the tumor is too large at the time of detection, the doctor may choose to remove the eye to eliminate the cancer entirely.

What is the patient outlook?

The good news is that retinoblastoma is generally considered highly curable (as long as it has not started to spread beyond the eyes). Sometimes, the eye is removed to prevent cancer from spreading, but patients can have a relatively normal everyday life apart from vision loss in one or both eyes after surgical removal. 

Why choose CFS for retinoblastoma treatment?

At CFS, we work with the leading ophthalmologists, diagnosticians and other experts who can detect any vision issues in children well in time. If you suspect that your child’s vision is not normal, schedule a consultation with our experts today.

Article: What is Retinoblastoma and Can it be Cured? 
Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Dec 13 2021 | UPDATED 02:00 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his privatecapacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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