Leukocoria is a condition in which the eye’s normally black pupil appears white, especially under bright light.

It is common to see “red eye” in photographs that were taken using flash photography. When the flash of a camera or another bright light produces the appearance of a white pupil, this is a sign of a serious underlying problem with the eye, and an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) should be consulted immediately. Primary care physicians often notice this sign when conducting a regular well-baby examination, and parents are frequently the first to notice it when looking at photographs of their children.

Leukocoria is a sign of many diseases and conditions of infancy and childhood, including:

  • congenital cataract;
  • persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous (PHPV);
  • retinoblastoma;
  • retinopathy of prematurity; and
  • toxocariasis.

(c) 2007 The American Academy of Ophthalmology

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This post was written by Rob Schertzer