Understanding Eye Cancer Symptoms

Eye cancer is a malignant tumor of the eye tissue. The tumor may be a primary tumor that begins within the eye, or may be due to a secondary tumor, elsewhere in the body that has spread through metastasis. The commonest type of eye cancer is melanoma of the eye.

Common Eye Cancer Symptoms

The commonest presenting symptoms of malignancy of the eye are:

a growing dark spot on the iris
sensation of flashing lights
alteration in the shape of the pupil
blurring / loss of vision

Different Types of Eye Cancer and Eye Cancer Symptoms

Melanoma usually presents as visual reduction, detachment of the retina, pain and bleeding.

Choroidal Nevus presents as loss of peripheral or central vision. A nevus looks like a mole, but, can turn cancerous.

Conjunctival Tumors grow on the external surface of the eye; clinical features include pain and vision impairment.

Eyelid Tumors cause swelling, pain, visual problems and impairment of the tear duct.

Orbital Tumors develop over the socket of the eye; and cause bulging of the eye and retinal detachment.

Retinoblastoma commonly occurs in children; manifestations are: whiteness of the pupil, swelling, and a sense that the eye is looking in different directions.

Diagnosing Eye Cancer Symptoms

Eye examination and assessment: the doctor examines the outside of the eye, and then the inside the eye, using certain devices. Ophthalmoscopy uses lenses and a bright light mounted on your doctor's forehead, whilst biomicroscopy, uses a microscope that produces an intense beam of light to illumine the inside of the eye.

Eye ultrasound: high frequency sound waves from a transducer generate images of the eye. Ultrasound is used to measure the width and extent of the tumor

Angiogram of the eye: a colored dye is administered in to a vein of the arm. The dye travels to the blood vessels within the eye. A camera with special filters to detect the dye takes flash pictures every few seconds for several minutes.

Biopsy: a small portion of the suspicious tissue is removed and sent to the laboratory for examination and evaluation. It helps confirm the malignancy.

Treatment of Eye Cancer Symptoms


The surgeon excises a part or the whole eye, to manage the case. Surgical interventions used are:


Radiation therapy

Radiation therapy uses X-ray beams to destroy the cancerous cells.
Radiation is delivered via brachytherapy / by placing a radioactive plaque on the eye; or via teletherapy, wherein, the radiation comes from a machine

Laser treatment

Laser beams kill the melanoma cells. A kind of laser therapy, thermotherapy, makes use of infrared laser beams, and is utilized in combination with radiotherapy.

Cold treatments or cryotherpy

Cryotherapy helps destroy the tumor cells; yet, the treatment is not frequently used.