To evaluate the usefulness of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in the evaluation of leukocoric eyes, the authors studied 28 patients with either leukocoria or intraocular mass with a 1.5-tesla (T) MRI imager. Retinoblastomas were reliably distinguished from Coats' disease, toxocariasis, and persistent hyperplastic primary vitreous on the basis of MRI findings. Calcification cannot be reliably detected on MRI scans. Lesions elevated less than 4 mm may not be detected reliably by MRI at this time. Computed tomography (CT) can detect calcification with a high degree of accuracy. Retinoblastomas appeared as moderately hyperintense masses on T1- and proton-weighted MRIs. They became hypointense in T2-weighted MRIs. This MRI characteristic is similar to that of uveal melanoma. Intraocular calcification in children especially younger than 3 years of age is highly suggestive of retinoblastoma. In the diagnosis of retinoblastoma, MRI is not as specific as CT because of its lack of sensitivity in detecting calcification. However, MRI, because of its superior contrast resolution, offers more information in the differentiation of pathologic intraocular conditions responsible for leukocoria. The authors also describe their preliminary work of in vitro proton magnetic resonance spectroscopy of eyes with retinoblastoma and an eye with uveal melanoma in an 18-year-old black woman.
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