Retinoblastoma - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 04/2013

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

Children with retinoblastoma often experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes, children with retinoblastoma do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer. If you are concerned about a symptom or sign on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor. Sometimes, a doctor finds retinoblastoma during a well-baby examination. Most often, however, parents notice symptoms or signs such as:

  • A pupil that looks white or red, instead of the normal black
  • A crossed eye (looking either toward the ear or toward the nose)
  • Poor vision
  • A red, painful-looking eye
  • An enlarged pupil
  • Different-colored irises

Your child’s doctor will ask questions about the symptoms your child is experiencing to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis. This may include how long your child has been experiencing the symptom(s) and how often.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms and side effects remains an important part of your child’s cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms your child experiences, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section helps explain what tests and scans may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu on the side of your screen to select Diagnosis, or you can select another section, to continue reading this guide.