The most common cancer involving the eye in young children is retinoblastoma. In the United States, this fast-growing cancer occurs in 1 in every 20,000 children, making it the 10th most common pediatric cancer.
Optometrists diagnose, refer and co-manage the care of cancers that involve the eye area. Early detection of cancer can greatly reduce the severity of the illness and increase life expectancy.
Often the first sign of retinoblastoma in a child is the appearance of a white eye in a photograph taken with a flash. A child's pupil should never appear white. If it does, see your optometrist for an evaluation immediately.
There are two forms of retinoblastoma: hereditary and sporadic. Although sporadic retinoblastoma occurs more frequently, children from families with a history of hereditary retinoblastoma should be assessed regularly.