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About Eye Cancer

What is Childhood Eye Cancer?

Childhood eye cancer or Retinoblastoma is a cancer which develops in the cells of the ritine (the light sensitive lining of the eye) in children. if diagnosed at an early stage Retinoblastoma can be treated and more often then not, cured. The disease is congenital which means that children who are affected by it generally have it at birth. Early identification is crucial to treatment as tumours often form near to the optical nerve and in such cases may pose a threat to life when tumor cells enter the blood stream.


Every Picture Tells A Story. . . 

This One Tells More

know what to look for...

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Fighting Retinoblastoma

Red reflex examination of the eyes can be used to great advantage in young children.

The photographs shown here depict the inequality or absence of red eye reflex (as often seen in photographs) that can occur in several important eye conditions, the most seriouse of which is retinoblastoma.

Red reflex examination is essential post-natally at the 6 week check, routine development examinations, and at any consultation where a child is being examined due to parental concern over vision or eye appearance.


  • Sit at arms length;

  • Use a good quality halogen light ophthalmoscope set close to zero focused on the childs face;

  • Encourage the child to look at the light. If it is unclear whether the reflex is normal or not then pupil dilation with drops such as tropicalimide 1% will help.

Examination of parents eyes will help to recognize normal ref reflexes in different ethnic groups.

The corneal reflex can be checked at the same time.


Normal red reflex and corneal reflex

The colour and brightness of the red reflex, and the location of the small white corneal reflex, is identical in each eye.


Red reflex absent

An absent red reflex in one or both eyes demonstartes seriouse eye disease (such as cataract or retinoblastoma) requiring immediate referral.


Red reflex is abnormal

A red reflex that is the wrong colour or brightness in one ir both eyes suggests serious eye disease (such as cataract or retinoblastoma) requiring immediate referral.


Combined with corneal reflex

The red reflex is reduced in the left eye and the corneal reflex is not central. This is a squint which requires promt referral to exclude serious underlying disease.


This pamphlet has been produced by Eye Can , with assistance from Dr. A.I Smith and Mr. John Ainsworth.

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