Retinoblastoma is a cancer (malignant tumour) of the eye, starting in the retina which is the light sensitive lining of the eye.

Retinoblastoma affects approximately 40 -50 children each year in the UK, around 1 in 20,000 babies, and commonly develops in children under the age of five but can occasionally develop up to the age of seven.

Unlike many cancers, retinoblastoma is not caused by outside factors and has a known genetic basis. If only one eye is affected, this is called unilateral retinoblastoma and if both eyes are affected, it is called bilateral retinoblastoma. In both cases children may have one or multiple tumours.   

Early diagnosis and treatment is crucial to save life and vision.

Our Retinoblastoma service

Birmingham Children’s Hospital is one of only two hospitals commissioned to provide national Retinoblastoma services.  Our patient centred service monitors, manages and follows up all symptoms associated with this complex condition.

There are a number of different treatment options available for retinoblastoma. The type of treatment offered and the frequency depends on a number of factors including the size, position, and number of tumours as well as the spread of the disease. 

Once a child is referred to us they are given an appointment for an initial assessment which is usually followed by surgical procedures and long-term support from a skilled multidisciplinary team including specialists in:

  • Oncologists (cancer)
  • Ophthalmologists (eye),
  • Prosthetists (to make replacement eyes)
  • Genetics
  • Nurses
  • Play therapists
  • Psychologists

We also work in partnership with local ophthalmology and eye centres.

Clinical lead

Mr Manoj Parulekar

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