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Am Fam Physician. 2006 Mar 15;73(6):1039-44.


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  • 1Cole Eye Institute, The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.

Erratum in

  • Am Fam Physician. 2007 Apr 1;75(7):980.


Retinoblastoma, a neuroblastic tumor, is the most common primary intraocular malignancy of childhood. Patients usually present with leukokoria (white reflex or white pupil), detected in primary care. The mean age at diagnosis is 12 months for bilateral tumors and 24 months for unilateral tumors. If untreated, almost all patients die of intracranial extension and disseminated disease within two years. However, new diagnostic and treatment methods allow for a high cure rate (93 percent five-year survival in the United States), therefore it is important that primary care physicians recognize the manifestations of this malignancy. Diagnosis is primarily by history and complete ophthalmic examination, with studies including ultrasonography of the eye and imaging of the orbits and brain. Treatment modalities include laser thermotherapy, cryotherapy, radioactive plaques, external beam radiotherapy, chemotherapy, and enucleation. Prospective parents with a family history of retinoblastoma should be referred for genetic counseling. Office evaluation for a red reflex in children should be performed until three years of age. If leukokoria is observed, the patient should be examined by an ophthalmologist within one week.

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