Cincinnati Children’s offers many treatment options for retinoblastoma, with innovative approaches designed to treat the cancer, limit side effects and save your child’s eyes. Surgery, chemotherapy and radiation are often combined with other procedures to achieve the best results.

Our program is one of only a few facilities in the United States to offer transcatheter selective intraophthalmic-artery chemotherapy and intravitreal chemotherapy. These sophisticated techniques involve delivering chemotherapy drugs to the arteries behind the eye, or directly into the vitreal space of the eye, rather than injecting them into the bloodstream.

Your child’s retinoblastoma treatment may include one or a combination of these options:

  • Surgery
  • Procedures to shrink the tumor without damaging healthy tissue, like photocoagulation (laser surgery), cryotherapy (cold therapy) and thermotherapy (heat therapy)
  • Subconjunctival-directed chemotherapy, which is chemotherapy delivered directly to the front of the eye
  • Transcatheter selective intraophthalmic-artery chemotherapy, which delivers chemotherapy directly to the arteries behind the eye
  • Intravitreal-directed chemotherapy, delivering chemotherapy directly into the fluid space of the eye
  • Conventional chemotherapy, which is sometimes delivered in combination with subconjunctival chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy (or proton radiotherapy) that conforms to the tumor’s shape
  • Radioactive plaque therapy, which delivers a high dose of radiation to the tumor with little or no damage to surrounding tissue

Saving the Eye

Our doctors work tirelessly to determine how well your child’s eye (or eyes) will function after treatment using the following tests:

  • Carefully viewing the eye and tumor under anesthesia
  • MRIs
  • Visual acuity (to find out how well your child can see)
  • Optic pathway (to find out how well visual information carries to the brain)

If the eye cannot be saved, our team can create a prosthetic to replace the eye. These highly sophisticated implants are designed to look completely natural, matching your child’s other eye and its exact movements.