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What Are The Signs, Causes And Risk Factors Of Eye Cancer?

Written and reviewed by
Dr.Garima 92% (462ratings)
MBBS
General Physician, Fatehabad  •  12years experience
What Are The Signs, Causes And Risk Factors Of Eye Cancer?

Eye cancer can start at any section of the eye. It happens when some cells in the eye mutate and start dividing rapidly. It is an uncommon kind of cancer, which can afflict both adults and children.

Where does the eye cancer start?

It can develop in any of the major parts of the eye-

  • The eyeball, the optic nerve, cornea, iris, sclera, retina
  • The orbit which is a tissue that surrounds the eye
  • The adnexal or accessory sections like the tear glands, eyelids etc.

When cancer affects the inside of the eyeball, it is called Intraocular cancer. In adults, melanoma and lymphoma are the two commonest forms of intraocular cancer. Retinoblastoma, cancer that starts in the retina is the commonest eye cancer in children.

Intraocular cancer can also be secondary when cancer takes root somewhere else in the body but spreads to the eyes.

What are the signs of eye cancer?

Often enough, eye cancer does not show any symptoms and a regular eye check-up may help find the signs of cancer. Unlike most other cancers, this one does not generate any pain. Some signs you should look out for are –

  • You have trouble seeing
  • Your field of vision has started to diminish
  • You have double vision
  • Your pupils are dilated
  • You may see spots, lines or floaters in front of your eyes
  • You could see bright flashes of light
  • The sudden appearance of spots in the eye
  • Sudden burning sensation or itchiness in the eyes
  • Your eyes are often blood-shot
  • You feel like there’s grit or dirt lodged in your eyes
  • Your eyes have become sensitive to the light
  • Your eyelashes are crusty when you wake up in the morning

If you witness any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately.

What are the causes and risk factors of eye cancer?

No particular cause of eye cancer has yet been identified. Like all cancers, it is caused by a genetic flaw, but doctors do not know what triggers it. However, there are certain risk factors that increase the likelihood of getting eye cancer. Knowing the risk factors is important so that you can take precautionary measures. The factors that make a person prone to eye cancer are –

  • Eye colour- Lighter-hued eye have higher chances of contracting cancer than darker ones
  • Age- Even though eye cancer can happen at any age, the risk increases as you grow older
  • Gender- Men are more likely to get eye cancer than women
  • Genetic conditions- If you have been born with the dysplastic nervous system, brown spots in the uvea of the eye or the BAP1 cancer syndrome, then you can get eye cancer

Eye cancer is not very common, but you should still make it a point to visit an ophthalmologist regularly for a comprehensive eye check-up.

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