University of Iowa Health Care

Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences

Retinoblastoma causing leukocoria

Contributor: Jesse Vislisel, MD

Updated and Expanded by: Cameron Wagner, BS  and Lorraine M. Provencher, MD

Leukocoria is the most common sign associated with retinoblastoma. Leukocoria is present in over half of all infants presenting with retinoblastoma. Other conditions may also be associated with leukocoria as a presenting symptom, including: congenital malformations (e.g. persistent hyperplastic fetal vasculature); tumors (e.g. medulloepithelioma); vascular diseases (e.g. retinopathy of prematurity); inflammatory diseases (e.g. ocular toxocariasis); trauma (e.g. vitreous hemorrhage).


  1. Balmer A, Munier F. 2007. Differential diagnosis of leukocoria and strabismus, first presenting signs of retinoblastoma. Clinical Ophthalmology. 1(4):431-439.

Image Comment: This child presented after the parents noted the rapid development of leukocoria in the left eye and was found to have unilateral retinoblastoma without metastasis. The MRI image shows the extent of the tumor within the left globe.

Retinoblastoma with leukocoria in left eye


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last updated: Updated 03/24/2017; originally posted: 02/25/2015
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