Retinoblastoma: How A Photo Can Save Your Childs Life

Even though we have covered retinoblastoma on this site before, I always think that new stories will help to continue to create awareness about the rare condition.

Retinoblastoma is a childhood cancer arising from immature retinal cells in one or both eyes and can strike from the time a child is in the womb up to 5 years of age. This cancer is curable if caught early enough. However, 87% of the children stricken with this disease worldwide die, mostly in developing countries. In developed countries, 97% of those who do live have moderate to severe visual impairment.

Retinoblastoma is a relatively uncommon tumor of childhood that accounts for about 3% of the cancers in children under the age of 15. The tumors originate in the retina, the light sensitive layer of the eye, which enables the eye to see.

Many parents learn their child has this cancer after seeing their eyes look unusual in a photo.

For some reason the flash of a camera reveals the tumor in the childs eye, but sometimes go unnoticed because parents aren’t sure what they are looking for.

So often we will look at photos of our kids and think that the imperfections are due to a rampant flash or imperfect light conditions.

If you see a white “glow” or “glint” in the pupil of one or both eyes in dim lighting, white pupil in a color photo or crossed/misaligned eyes parents are asked to contact your pediatrician or ophthalmologist immediately and have their eyes examined.

Please remember: 90% of retinoblastoma patients have no family history of the disease and only 10% of newly diagnosed patients have other family members with retinoblastoma.

Please visit official retinoblastoma site for more information.

*The little boy in the picture has the cancer in his left eye*


About the author

Lisa Arneill

SAHM of 2 boys and founder of, World Traveled Family and The World We Share. When I'm not running around after my boys, I'm looking for our next vacation spot!

1 Comment

  • Hello it is so good to see people like you raising awareness. My son jasen has retinoblastoma in both eyes. The picture of the boy you posted with RB above, I owe my sons life too. Joey had lost his life due to retinoblastoma, and has become a angel to a lot of children. His grandmother has got to be one of the most strongest women I know. Ever since Joey passed, she has spent everyday of her life making sure not another child loses their life to this cancer.

    Thank you
    Mrs. W Rivera
    Rb awareness week is the week of mother’s day.

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