Cancer starts when cells in the body start growing out of control. Eye cancer can occasionally develop in the tissues around the eyeball or spread to the eye from other body parts like lungs and breasts.
Ocular melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer. Though it's a highly comprehensive disease, it's fairly unknown. People are still unaware of the causes, impacts and possible symptoms of the disease so it's the right time to know the details.
What Is Eye Cancer?
To start with, Eye cancer, it is scientifically defined as: 'It is the development of tumor due to the uncontrollable massing of cells, in any part of the eye.'
It is estimated that around 3000 adults are diagnosed with the same issues every year in the United States. There are two types of cancers found in the eye.
Source: The Healthiest Alternative
1. Primary Intraocular Cancer
It is the type of eye cancer that initiates inside the eyeball. In an adult, melanoma is the most common type of primary intraocular cancer. While in kids, retinoblastoma is the most common.
2. Secondary Intraocular Cancer
It starts in other body parts and then spread in the eye. They are not generally considered as eye cancer but they are more common than primary intraocular cancers.
The most common cancers that spread to the eye are lungs and breast cancer.
Brittany Howard, lead singer of the soul-rock band Alabama Shakes successfully overcame the eye cancer, retinoblastoma when she was still a little kid. She lost her vision in one eye due to the disease.
Symptoms Of Eye Cancer
Generally, there are no obvious symptoms of eye cancer and the condition can sometimes be detected only during a routine check-up.
Source: Mumbai Eye Care
Some signs and symptoms include:
- Blurred Vision
- The appearance of a dark patch in the eye
- Flashes of light, shadows, and wiggly lines in your vision
- Partial or complete loss of vision
- The appearance of a lump on the eyelid or in the eye getting bigger over time
- Bulging of the eye
- Painful feeling in and around the eye
As the above-mentioned symptoms can be spotted in minor eye infections, it's very important to get a doctor as soon as possible.
Causes Of Eye Cancer
The exact cause behind the development of eye cancers, especially primary intraocular cancers like melanoma and retinoblastoma are still not clear.
Source: Daily Telegraph
A number of reasons ranging from heredity to excessive exposure to UV radiations can be the primary cause of the disease. Overexposure to the sunshine may increase the risk but the research has not confirmed this.
People with light eye color like blue or green eyes have a greater risk of melanoma of the eye. Notably, the risk increases along with the age.
Diagnosis And Treatment
Early detection of any disease is very important for an effective treatment. A routine check-up with an ophthalmologist or an eye doctor is the best way to protect eyes from possible hazards.
If the doctor suspects any serious issue in the eye, ultrasound, fluorescein angiography or metastasis can be performed.
Source: Wilkinson Eye Center
Treatment for eye cancer or melanoma depends on the size and location of the tumor. Some of the most common treatment options are:
2. External Radiotherapy
3. Surgery for the removal of the tumor or affected part of the eye
4. Removal of the eye if the tumor is large.
Chemotherapy is rare in case of eye melanoma but it may be suitable for other types of eye cancer.
Sunshine and outdoor work increase the risk of eye cancer so, it's best to use sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection and a hat.