Symptoms of retinoblastoma

The signs or symptoms of retinoblastoma include:

  • a white reflection or glare in a child’s pupil when exposed to light, such as in a photograph taken with a flash (called leukocoria or cat’s eye reflex)
  • eyes that are crossed or do not appear to look in the same direction (called strabismus)
  • redness and inflammation of the white part of the eye
  • blurred vision
  • eye pain
  • squinting
  • an enlarged eyeball
  • bulging of the eye out of the eye socket (called proptosis)
  • 2 different coloured irises (called heterochromia)
  • increased pressure in the eye (called glaucoma) that can lead to blindness

Expert review and references

  • American Society of Clinical Oncology. Retinoblastoma - Childhood. 2015.
  • Children's Hospital Boston. Retinoblastoma. Boston, MA: Children's Hospital Boston; 2017.
  • Dutton JJ, and Fowler AM . Cancer of the orbit: surgical management. Harrison LB, Sessions RB, & Hong WK. Head and Neck Cancer: A Multidisciplinary Approach. 3rd ed. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2009: 28: pp: 785-814.
  • Hendershot E . Retinoblastoma. Baggott C, Fochtman D, Foley GV, Patterson K (eds.). Nursing Care of Children and Adolescents with Cancer and Blood Disorders. 4th ed. APHON; 2011: 34: 1106-1120.
  • Imbach P . Retinoblastoma. Imbach P, Kuhne T, Arceci RJ (eds.). Pediatric Oncology: A Comprehensive Guide. 3rd ed. Cham, CH: Springer; 2014: 15: 173-180.
  • Isidro MA. Medscape Reference: Retinoblastoma Clinical Presentation. 2016.
  • National Cancer Institute. RetinoblastomaTreatment (PDQ®) Patient Version. 2016.
  • National Cancer Institute. Retinoblastoma Treatment (PDQ®) Health Professional Version. 2016.
  • Penn Medicine. All About Retinoblastoma. University of Pennsylvania; 2017.
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Retinoblastoma. Memphis, TN: St. Jude Children's Research Hospital; 2017.

Medical disclaimer

The information that the Canadian Cancer Society provides does not replace your relationship with your doctor. The information is for your general use, so be sure to talk to a qualified healthcare professional before making medical decisions or if you have questions about your health.

We do our best to make sure that the information we provide is accurate and reliable but cannot guarantee that it is error-free or complete.

The Canadian Cancer Society is not responsible for the quality of the information or services provided by other organizations and mentioned on, nor do we endorse any service, product, treatment or therapy.

1-888-939-3333 | | © 2024 Canadian Cancer Society