Retinoblastoma - Childhood: Symptoms and Signs

This section has been reviewed and approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2014

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. 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, which is an eye looking either toward the ear or toward the nose
  • Poor vision
  • A red, painful-looking eye
  • An enlarged pupil
  • Different-colored irises

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your child’s doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often your child has been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms 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.