Retinoblastoma and Your Child's Eyes
What Does the Future Hold for People With Retinoblastoma?
Over 90% of children will survive more than five years after being diagnosed with retinoblastoma. The degree of vision retained depends on the extent of the disease, as well as the treatment chosen.
Hereditary forms of retinoblastoma are more likely to reoccur years after treatment; therefore, close follow-up after treatment is important for these patients.
Is Retinoblastoma Preventable?
Because heredity and age play such large roles in retinoblastoma, the best prevention is through early detection. All babies should have a general eye exam at birth and then again during the first year of life (these are usually included during the "well-child" visits scheduled at 2, 4, 6, 9, and 12 months of age). Your child should also have regular exams scheduled for 15, 18, and 24 months of age and every year after that. At these regularly scheduled visits, a doctor can detect any serious congenital problems or the appearance of retinal tumors. Newborns with a family history of retinoblastoma should have a more thorough eye exam at birth, again at several weeks of age and then once every few months as directed by your child's doctor.
Note:If you notice something unusual about your child's eyes in between the regularly scheduled visits, contact your doctor for an appointment immediately.
In some cases of retinoblastoma, there is a genetic mutation responsible for the disease. A blood DNA test can be used in select cases to screen for this mutation. For those with a family history of retinoblastoma, this test may be recommended.
For adults, prevention means getting a thorough regular eye exam at least once a year and more often, as recommended by your ophthalmologist, if you have a personal or family history of eye disorders or diabetes.