Keya Chakrabarty, B.Optom

3rd year Student, NSHM Knowledge Campus – Kolkata, India


Nothing in this world that is beyond limit is good. Similarly, excessive growth of cells in the human body does not feel good. It leads to cancer and can happen in various organs of the body. When abnormal, uncontrolled growth of cells in the tissues of the eye is seen, it forms Eye Cancer, also known as Ocular Cancer. It can form a tumour-like structure which can affect different parts of the eye, including eyeballs, surrounding tissues, and structures responsible for vision.

Eye melanoma does not always have exact symptoms, and they can vary depending on the types and stages. Although other less serious conditions like floaters can be a normal part of the ageing process. It is important to consult an eye specialist if you have these symptoms for a thorough diagnosis of its cause and cure. Early detection and treatment are important for improving eye prognosis and vision

Symptoms of Eye Cancer can include-

  1. Blurring of vision, noticeable decrease in visual acuity, loss of visual field, eye pain, excessive redness, discharge of eye.
  2. Long time eye irritations.
  3. Floaters (spots in the field of vision), flashes of light.
  4. Bulging of eye
  5. Bump on eyeball, changes in the size of eyeball and changes in the eye-movement (Figure 1)
  6. A dark spot, changes in the colour of iris.
  7. In paediatric cancer known as Retinoblastoma, a white spot maybe visible in the pupil. (1)

Figure 1: Bump on eyeball
[Picture courtesy: Martin, K. (2021, December 23). What is there to know about eye cancer?]

Causes of Eye Cancer:

There is no clear role of UV light to the eye, but some evidence like direct light from the sun, tanning beds, and overexposure to light can be a risk factor for eye melanoma. The colour of the eye, for example, blue, green, or grey eyes, and people with fair skin have a higher chance of Eye Melanoma compared to brown eyes or skin. People who have inherited skin disorders may have an irregular shape or colour of moles, and a higher tendency for Eye Cancer. A rare inherited condition called BAP1 cancer syndrome, where people who have mutations in this gene, can be affected more by uveal melanoma, which affects the uvea (middle layer of the eye). Most adults have Uveal Melanoma type cancer. (2)

Types of Eye Cancer:

Eye cancer can vary based on its location and characteristics. Here are the main types:

  1. Intraocular Melanoma (Uveal Melanoma): This is the most common type of intraocular cancer in adults, originating from melanocytes, the pigmented cells within the uvea.
  2. Retinoblastoma: Predominantly affecting children under the age of five, this common intraocular cancer occurs in the retina of the eye.
  3. Conjunctival Melanoma: This cancer affects the conjunctiva, the transparent part of the eye that covers the white part (sclera).
  4. Ocular Lymphoma: A type of non-Hodgkin lymphoma affecting the lymphocytes, it can impact the conjunctiva as well as other parts of the eye.
  5. Rhabdomyosarcoma: This malignant cancer can occur in various parts of the body, including the eye, and is more common in children and young adults.
  6. Squamous Cell Carcinoma: This type of carcinoma can develop in the conjunctiva or on different surfaces of the eye.
  7. Lacrimal Gland Carcinoma: This cancer affects the lacrimal glands, which produce tears to keep the eye moist.
  8. Sebaceous Carcinoma: A rare but aggressive cancer that occurs in the eyelid. (3)

Diagnosis and treatments of Eye Cancer:


Firstly, an eye specialist will examine the outer parts of the eye. Using various instruments, the inner parts of the eye will also be evaluated. Diagnostic tools such as ultrasound (USG) scans, optical coherence tomography (OCT), and angiograms are employed to help detect eye cancers.


  1. Different types of surgeries: Iridectomy, Enucleation etc.
  2. Radiation therapy: Brachytherapy
  3. Laser therapy
  4. Chemotherapy

There are also a few side effects such as hair loss, mouth sores, nausea, or vomiting, diarrhoea, and an increasing number of RBCs, WBCs, or a few blood platelets. However, patients should ask about all the side effects of treatments so they can be managed. (4)

In the U.S., the 5-year relative survival rate for eye cancer is 80%. This relative survival rate increases to 85% if eye cancer is caught earlier. About 73% of people are diagnosed at this stage. The survival rates for eye melanoma vary based on several factors like the stage of cancer, a person’s age, general health, and the quality of treatment. ([1])


In conclusion, excessive cell growth in the human body may lead to cancer, including in the eye, known as Ocular Cancer. This condition can affect various parts of the eye and may not always show clear symptoms, but common signs can include blurred vision, eye pain, floaters, and changes in eye appearance. Risk factors include UV light exposure, lighter eye colour, fair skin, and certain inherited conditions like BAP1 cancer syndrome. There are several types of eye cancers, including Intraocular Melanoma, Retinoblastoma, Conjunctival Melanoma, and Ocular Lymphoma. Treatment options for these cancers vary and may include surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy. However, each treatment carries potential side effects. Early detection is crucial for a better prognosis.



  1. [1]Wu, M., Yavuzyiğitoğlu, S., Brosens, E., Ramdas, W. D., Kiliç, E., & Rotterdam Ocular Melanoma Study Group. (2023). Worldwide incidence of ocular melanoma and correlation with pigmentation-related risk factors. Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science64(13), 45-45.