What Is Retinoblastoma?

Retinoblastoma - (Reh-tin-oh-blast-oma) is a cancer of one or both eyes which occurs in young children. Retinoblastoma affects children of all races and both boys and girls.

The retinoblastoma tumor(s) originate in the retina, the light sensitive layer of the eye which enables the eye to see. When the tumors are present in one eye, it is referred to as unilateral retinoblastoma, and when it occurs in both eyes it is referred to as bilateral retinoblastoma. Most cases (75%) involve only one eye (unilateral); the rest (25%) affect both eyes (bilateral). The majority (90%) of retinoblastoma patients have no family history of the disease; only a small percentage of newly diagnosed patients have other family members with retinoblastoma (10%).

My personal history

I was diagnosed a bilateral retinoblastoma as a one year old child. My father had a unilateral retinoblastoma. My right eye was immediately enucleated to prevent further growth in the direction of the optical nerve, and my left eye was heavily x-rayed to stop the turmors growth.

This left me with about 20% sight on the left eye, until at the age of seven I fell victim to what I can only call experiments of a truly crazy doctor. The former leader of the Eye-department of the Hospital in Graz decided to perform an invasive operation on my eye despite strict warnings of other specialists from Germany to not touch my remaining eye. This operation was performed without permission, in fact my parents were left with the belief that this was another routine security check to ensure that no further growth was going on. The immediate result of that operation was a retinal detachment some days later, which reduced my remaining sight to maybe just 1%. I was only able to use my sight to detect light sources, nothing more was possible.

Over time, I lost this remaining light detection capabilities also. Due to the fact that there still remains some dead retinoplastoma in my left eye, I'm still having security checks from time to time. These days those are performed with MR scans, earlier I had a bounch of CAT scans to achieve this.

Some interesting links

Last Modified: 2007-03-22 01:01:06
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