Ocular melanoma, or eye cancer, is the most common type of primary eye cancer in adults. Around 2,500 Americans are diagnosed with the disease each year. While ocular melanoma can occur in anyone of any age, it primarily happens to those who have light pigmentation of the eye and are in their 50s or older.
If you are concerned about developing eye cancer, it’s important to know the risk factors. If you feel that you are high risk, talk to your eye specialist about what you can do to lower your risk.
Common Risk Factors for Eye Cancer
● Race/Ethnicity: It has been reported that whites have a higher risk factor than African Americans or Asian Americans.
● Eye Color: Light colored eyes are also at a higher risk of developing ocular melanoma than people with darker eyes.
● Age/Gender: Though it is possible for eye melanomas to develop at any age, the risk for being diagnosed gets higher with age. Also, the disease has a slightly higher incident rate in men.
● Inherited Conditions: There are some inherited conditions that can raise the risk for eye cancer. Typically, these conditions involve abnormal dark spots on the uvea, as well as the BAP1 cancer gene.
● Lifestyle Habits: Lifestyle habits such as sun exposure and field of work have been attributed to the onset of eye cancer, but they have not been proven. Still, it’s recommended to take care of your eyes by wearing proper sunglasses when outdoors.
Signs and Symptoms
If you are at risk for developing eye cancer, make sure you are aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease. Early detection is crucial and can sometimes eliminate the need for surgery. The most common things to look for include:
● Difficulty seeing
● Part of your field of vision is lost
● Seeing flashes of light, squiggly lines or floaters
● Dark spots on the iris
It’s important to note that these symptoms do not necessarily indicate cancer. They can go along with many other diseases, so see your eye doctor for a thorough test. There are many ways to detect eye cancer, and a treatment plan can be devised once the diagnosis is made.
If you are concerned about ocular melanoma in yourself or a loved one, set up a consultation with Empire Retina today.