Background The purpose of this study was to examine the clinical and radiologic response to carboplatin by children with progressive optic/thalamic gliomas. Patients and Methods Between July 1997 and July 1999, 12 consecutive children were treated with monthly carboplatin for progressive optic/thalamic gliomas. Results Five children have completed 12 cycles of carboplatin and five children are currently receiving treatment. Two children had progressive disease noted both clinically and radiologically. Nine children have stable radiologic disease and one child has had a partial radiologic response to chemotherapy. Eight children have had regular visual assessments. Four children (three with stable radiology and one with a partial radiologic response) have had improvement in their vision. Three children with radiologically stable disease have had no change in vision. One child has had deterioration in vision despite radiologically stable disease. Conclusions The results suggest that the clinical response of optic/thalamic gliomas to carboplatin, as measured by visual acuity and visual fields, may be better than predicted by radiologic assessment. These data suggest that a prospective clinical study is warranted of the role of carboplatin in children with progressive optic/thalamic gliomas and visual impairment.