ABC Medical Center > Retinoblastoma

What is Retinoblastoma?

21:55 - 4 May , 2021


It is a condition that consists of the development of a cancerous tumor in the retina, which is located in the back of the eyeball, being the tissue that receives light and is responsible for sending electrical signals to the brain through the optic nerve, allowing vision.

Retina cells develop a genetic abnormality that makes them grow uncontrollably, causing the death of healthy cells and causing a tumor that can metastasize and spread to other areas of the body such as the brain and spine. This condition is more common in children, but also, although rarely, it can occur in adults.

A child with retinoblastoma is at a higher risk of developing cancer in other parts of the body, including the brain.

Retinoblastoma is classified into two types:

  • Intraocular: appears within the eye.
  • Extraocular: by metastasizing, it has already spread outside the eye.

Signs and symptoms Retinoblastoma

As it has a higher incidence in babies and children, keep in mind the following symptoms that could be affecting your child, such as: 

  • Presence of a white circle in the pupil that is noticeable with light.
  • Vision in opposite directions, that is, each eye seems to go to different points.
  • Decreased visual ability.
  • Swollen eyes.
  • Eye redness.

Diagnosis and treatment Retinoblastoma

Once the ophthalmologist analyzes your child’s symptoms and medical history, they will perform a physical examination, which will include an eye exam and imaging studies such as ultrasound and computed tomography.

If there are indications that the cancer has already metastasized, the following tests will be performed to corroborate it:

  • Bone scintigraphy.
  • Bone marrow aspiration and biopsy.
  • Lumbar puncture.

The treatment plan will be established based on the volume of the tumor and where it is located, as well as whether it has metastasized, sending the cancer to other areas of the body.

Before resorting to more radical options such as surgery to remove the eye and the consequent loss of vision in the affected eye, therapeutic alternatives will be used to try to cure the cancer, such as:

  • Chemotherapy.
  • Radiotherapy.
  • Cryotherapy.
  • Transpupillary thermotherapy.

If none of these therapies work, a surgical procedure called enucleation will be performed, which consists of removing the affected eye and then placing an artificial eye implant.

Since its inauguration in 2009, our Cancer Center offers chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments at the level of the best medical centers in the world through a comprehensive care model for cancer patients.


  • aao.org
  • cancer.org
  • cancer.net
  • cancer.gov
  • mayoclinic.org
  • medlineplus.gov
  • medigraphic.com
  • Brenes MN, Osejo RMS, Cartín RAC. Presentación del retinoblastoma en la edad pediátrica. Revista Médica Sinergia. 2020;5(05):379-379.
  • Ramírez-Patiño L, Barnoya-Pérez de EM, Lara-Molina NC, et al. Ocular brachytherapy in the treatment of retinoblastoma. Experience in the Hospital Infantil de México. Rev Mex Oftalmol. 2019;93(4):194-199.
  • Pérez HMA, Domínguez CPM. El retinoblastoma: un tumor de ojo frecuente en la infancia. Rev Fac Med UNAM . 2019;62(4):35-38.
  • González RL, Cárdenas BM, Moreno MMI, et al. Retinoblastoma: una presentación tardía y atípica. Rev Cub Oftal. 2018;31(1):170-177.

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