Next Steps If You See a White Pupil
Cause for Concern
We advise that both eyes be urgently checked by an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) with a dilated eye exam if you see any of the following:
- Photos taken without red-eye reduction repeatedly show no red reflex
- white reflex repeatedly appears in photographs
- White pupil can be seen with the naked eye
- reflexes do not look the same in both eyes
- different coloured irises or misshapen pupil
- a squint (misaligned eyes) in a child older than six months, or younger than six months if seen in combination with any of the above.
We recommend children with one or more of these signs be seen by an ophthalmologist within 72 hours. We suggest you take the photographs and our awareness poster to your primary doctor, to help them understand your concerns.
Retinoblastoma should be considered the most likely diagnosis when the eye repeatedly reflects white or absent red reflex in young children. Both eyes should be urgently examined by an ophthalmologist.
Regular Eye Exams
Children do not die from primary tumours in the eye, but from cancer that has spread beyond the eye due to late diagnosis. Correct eye exams at regular well-child visits, and prompt investigation of any concerns should ensure that retinoblastoma never remains undetected.
If you are reading this because you are concerned about photographs of a friend’s child, please do share your concerns with the family.
Ask them if they have noticed an unusual appearance of the eye in photographs, and encourage them to look at this page.
Remember that white pupil in a single photograph is usually a normal optic nerve reflex, but the eyes should be examined to be sure both eyes are healthy.
PhotoRED Awareness Poster
Click on the poster to download and print a high resolution copy.