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Date of last update: 9/9/2017.

Forum Name: Pediatric Topics

Question: 5 year old with milky-white pupils......

 bluetigress25 - Wed Dec 27, 2006 2:02 am

When i take a picture of my 5 year old daughter, one eye has they typical "Red-Eye" but the other is a milky-white color. I read a sign posted in my niece's doctor's office with a picture of a little boy with the same thing going on with his eyes in the pic, but the sign stated that it could (worst scenario, i am assuming) that it could be a sign of a possible brain tumor. How true is this and should i be worried about my daughter?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Wed Dec 27, 2006 12:48 pm

User avatar The red reflex that you see is representative of the light bouncing off the back of the eye. When something blocks the normal transmission of light, the reflex can become white other colored. If there is a difference between the two eyes this needs to be evaluated by your pediatrician who may recommend evaluation by ophthalmology.

Abnormal red reflexes can represent several things. One of the more concerning things is a type of cancer called retinoblastoma. This is likely what the poster was referring to. It may also represent cataracts or other lens/conjunctival anomalies. While these are not a serious as cancer, they can lead to vision problems.

So, please have your daughter evaluated soon.

Keep us updated.
 bluetigress25 - Wed Dec 27, 2006 3:35 pm

Thank you so much for your response. I have a couple more questions though. How common is retinoblastoma in children and where can I find more information on her "symptoms"? I will be making an appointment for her after Jan 1, when my insurance goes into effect, but want to be somewhat educated in the possibilities so that I don't end up being overwhelmed... Thank you for taking the time to assist a worried mom!! :)
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Thu Dec 28, 2006 8:09 pm

User avatar Retinoblastoma has an incidence of about 1 in 17,000 to 20,000 children. 90% occur children less than 5 years old. About 30% of cases involve both eyes. It is known to occur due to mutations involving chromosome 13 in a region coding for a tumor suppressor gene, known as the retinoblastoma gene.

Good information can be found on the internet; however, one should always be cautious about trusting information on the internet as it has generally not been screened for accuracy. So, the best places to get information are websites for well known cancer authorities, such as the American Cancer Society, etc.

Based on simple odds, your daughter has a low likelihood of having retinoblastoma; however, it is important for her to be evaluated.

Hope this helps. Keep us updated.

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