Can retinoblastoma be prevented?

Because heredity and age play such large roles in retinoblastoma, the best way to prevent vision loss is through early detection. All babies with a family history of retinoblastoma should have a general eye exam at birth and then again as directed by the consulting specialists. A doctor will be able to detect any serious congenital (present at birth) problems or the appearance of retinal tumors.

The chance that a parent with heritable (genetic) retinoblastoma will pass on to his or her child the DNA mutation that causes this cancer is 1 in 2. Sophisticated testing in some situations can be used to determine if this mutation is present.

For adults, prevention of avoidable vision loss is assisted by getting a thorough regular eye examination at least once a year, and more often — as recommended by your ophthalmologist — if you have a personal or family history of eye disorders or diabetes.

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