Eye Cancer: Prevention


Many cancers of the eye have no known cause but the incidence of some eye cancers has been associated with environmental, life style or hereditary factors.

Although some risk factors associated with eye cancer can not be controlled (such as age and skin type), it is important to limit one's exposure to the sun. Always remain protected when exposed to the sun for any length of time. Wear protective clothing, and UVB blocking sunglasses may offer preventive benefits.


As Retinoblastoma is sometimes inherited (passed from the parent to the child), there are no known preventive measures. However, after diagnosis of retinoblastoma in one eye, regular follow-up exams of the healthy eye should be done every 2 to 4 months for at least 28 months. After treatment for retinoblastoma is finished, it is important that follow-up exams continue until the child is 5 years of age.

Brothers and sisters of a child who has retinoblastoma should also have regular exams by an ophthalmologist (a doctor with special training in diseases of the eye) and genetic counseling about the risk of developing the cancer.

A child who has hereditary retinoblastoma is at risk for developing pineal tumors in the brain. This is called trilateral retinoblastoma. Regular follow-up exams using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) or CT scans (computerized tomography) to check for this rare condition are important during treatment for retinoblastoma and should be continued until the child is 5 years of age. Hereditary retinoblastoma also increases the child's risk of developing other types of cancer in later years. Regular follow-up exams are important.