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Symptoms of Retinoblastoma

The most common symptom of retinoblastoma is called "cat's eye reflex" or leukocoria, which looks as if the pupil is white (instead of a normal black pupil). In flash photographs, the child’s eye will appear very white, unlike the red-eye effect more commonly seen in flash photos.

Other symptoms of retinoblastoma include:

  • crossed eyes
  • strabismus (one eye does not point in the same direction as the other)
  • pain, irritation, or redness in the eye
  • enlarged pupil
  • changes in or loss of vision

Parents usually notice the symptoms of retinoblastoma first, but if there is a family history of the tumor a newborn should be examined by an ophthalmologist soon after birth. Find out more about Diagnosing and Treating Retinoblastoma.

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Reviewed by: Y. Pierre Gobin, MD
Last reviewed/last updated: September 2020