Ocular melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer. It typically affects the uvea, which is the vascular layer of the eye between the retina and white part of the eye. Sometimes, the cancer starts in the eye and is referred to as primary eye cancer. Other times, the cancer spreads to the eye from another part of the body. This is called secondary eye cancer.
Most melanomas start in the skin, which makes ocular melanoma more commonly a secondary cancer. It’s estimated that 9 out of 10 eye melanomas start in the skin. The American Cancer Society estimates that there will be over 3,000 new cancers of the eye in 2017 in the United States.
Knowing that ocular melanoma is more than a rare occurrence, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of the condition. Let’s take a look at the main symptoms of ocular tumors.
Common Symptoms of Ocular Tumors
Ocular melanoma can manifest in a variety of ways, but most people discover they have a tumor when they go to the doctor because of blurry vision or soreness. The primary symptoms of an ocular tumor are:
● Blurry vision
● Sudden loss of vision
● Flashing lights
● Visual field loss
● Growing dark spot on the iris
● Change in size or shape of pupil
● Change in position of the eyeball
● Bulging of the eye
When to See a Doctor
It’s possible to have other symptoms that just aren’t right, such as floaters, squiggles or small specks that move across your field of vision. If you have any of the above symptoms, it’s important to call an eye specialist right away. Some of these signs may indicate that something else is going on. Symptoms like blurry vision or eye floaters aren’t necessarily an indication of cancer, but they are telling you that your eyes need attention.
If your eye doctor suspects an ocular tumor, he or she will order more tests to confirm the diagnosis. Early detection is crucial for effective treatment. Treatment depends on where the tumor is located, the size of the tumor and the overall health of the patient.
The best way to prevent an ocular tumor is to see your eye specialist regularly and practice healthy habits all around.