Risk Factors/Signs and Symptoms

Risk Factors

A risk factor is anything that affects a person's chance of getting a disease such as cancer. Different cancers have different risk factors.

Intraocular Melanoma

The risk factors for intraocular melanoma are the following:

Age - This cancer is typically seen in older patients

Artifical and Natural Sunlight - Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time.

Complexion - Fair skin that freckles and burns easily, does not tan, or tans poorly.


- Most children diagnosed with retinoblastoma are younger than 3 years old. Most congenital or hereditary retinoblastomas are found during the first year of life, while non-inherited retinoblastomas tend to be diagnosed in 1- and 2-year-olds. Retinoblastomas are extremely rare in older children and in adults.

Heredity - About 1 out of 4 cases of retinoblastoma are caused by a mutation (change) in the RB1 gene that is present in all the cells of the body, and therefore can be passed on to the next generation.

Signs and Symptoms

Intraocular Melanoma
Intraocular melanoma may not cause any early symptoms. It is sometimes found during a routine eye exam when the doctor dilates the pupil and looks into the eye. However, the following symptoms may be caused by intraocular melanoma:

A dark spot on the iris.
Blurred vision.
A change in the shape of the pupil.
A change in vision.

Possible signs of retinoblastoma include "white pupil" and eye pain or redness. In addition, the following conditions may occur:

Pupil of the eye appears white instead of red when light shines into it. This may be seen in flash photographs of the child.

Eyes appear to be looking in different directions.

Pain or redness in the eye.

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