Eye cancers refer to abnormal cell growths affecting the eye. There are many types of eye cancers, and these different types of eye cancer affect different parts of the eye. Some types of eye cancer affect the soft tissue around the eye, or the eye muscles, while other types of eye cancer affect the eye itself. Two types of eye cancer that affect the eye include lymphoma and melanoma; these most often affect adults. Children often suffer from eye cancers, particularly retinoblastoma and medulloepithelioma.
The most common type of eye cancer found in adults is what is known as intra-ocular melanoma, or melanoma of the eyeball. Although it is the most common type of eye cancer, it is still extremely rare; skin melanoma cancers are much more likely than melanomas of the eye. Eye cancer of this type most often develops in the choroid section of the eye, although approximately ten percent of eye cancers occur in the iris. The eye cancers that develop on the iris are usually the easiest to diagnose, as they can be observed by the cancer patient or their doctor. Unlike melanoma of the skin, eye melanomas tend to be relatively slow growing, and tend not to metastasise to other parts of the body.
The second type of eye cancer commonly found in adults is lymphoma of the eye. This type of cancer begins in the immune cells found in the lymph nodes around the eye, and then begins to grow into an abnormal growth. This type of eye cancer is usually found in those with suppressed immune systems, such as the elderly, the infirm, or those with immune system conditions such as HIV or AIDS. This type of cancer is also often seen in tandem with brain lymphomas.
Currently, the causes of eye cancer are not well defined. However, symptoms of eye cancer include changes in eyesight, including a worsening of vision, or seeing “squiggles” across the field of vision. However, like many cancer symptoms, these symptoms my be symptomatic of other conditions. However, if they persist, you should see a doctor. In addition, dark spots on the iris should also be examined by a doctor, as they may be a sign of cancer.