DESCRIPTIONAn eye tumor is a growth in the eye in which cell multiplication is uncontrolled and progressive. Eye tumors are of 3 types: retinoblastoma, malignant melanoma, or secondary tumors that have spread from other parts of the body. Usually only one eye is involved. Retinoblastoma invades both eyes in 25% of cases. Retinoblastoma affects young children between ages 1 and 5, melanoma affects adults over 60, and secondary tumors affect all ages.
Appropriate health care includes one of the following:
Surgery to remove the tumor.
Cryotherapy (See Glossary).
Treatment with laser beams.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSPossibly no signs in the early stages.
Gradual loss of vision.
Bulging eyes (sometimes).
Retinoblastoma may have the following additional signs:
A tumor that is visible through the pupil.
The following are characteristic of all 3 types:
CAUSESMelanoma and secondary tumors: Unknown.
Retinoblastoma: Inherited tendency.
Family history of retinoblastoma. The genetic trait is dominant, but it does not affect all the children of the family.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCECannot be prevented at present. If your family has a history of retinoblastoma, obtain genetic counseling before having children.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Echography (See Glossary).
Fluorescein dye tests (See Glossary) to outline blood vessels in the child's eye.
X-rays of the child's skull.
Radionuclide Scan: A nuclear medicine procedure that uses radioactive isotope injected into a patient. The isotope tracers are absorbed in various concentrations by targeted organs, which are then photographed (See Glossary).
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A non-invasive (non-X-ray) computerized test that uses radio frequency energy and a powerful magnetic field to produce images with excellent detail (See Glossary).
Spread to other parts of the child's body.
Partial or complete loss of the child's vision.
PROBABLE OUTCOMESome eye tumors are curable in 6 months with medical treatment.
Other eye tumors are considered incurable. A fatal spread to other body parts usually occurs rapidly. However, medical literature cites a few instances of unexplained recovery. Scientific research into causes and treatment continues, so there is hope for increasingly effective treatment and cure.
HOME CAREThe surgeon will provide instructions for postoperative care for your child.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
Your doctor may prescribe:
After treatment, your child can resume normal activities as soon as possible.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?Yes, after treatment is complete.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your child has symptoms of an eye tumor.
Pain becomes intolerable during treatment.
New, unexplained symptoms develop that may indicate the malignancy has spread to other body parts.