Eye cancer is an uncommon type of cancer that develops due to the uncontrolled multiplication of the cells in or around the eyeball. This cancer tends to grow in the tissues surrounding the eyeball or had spread to the eye from distant parts of the body, like breasts or the lungs. Types
• Eye melanoma
• Squamous cell carcinoma
• Retinoblastoma – a childhood cancer
If the cancerous growth begins inside the eyeball, it's called intraocular cancer. The most common eye cancer is melanoma. Hence, it is discussed more in this article.
Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer that affects children, which originates from the cells of the retina. In adults, the common eye cancer is melanoma and lymphoma. Symptoms
Symptoms of eye cancer include:
• The patient sees shadows, flashes of light, or wiggly lines
• He may have blurred vision
• He may feel a dark patch in the eye that grows bigger in size
• There is a partial or complete loss of vision
• Another symptom is bulging of one of the eyes
• A lump is felt in the eyelid or in the eye that increases in size
• Rarely, pain may be felt in or around the eye Causes
The exact cause is not clearly understood.
• Age.-People of age 50 or more are more at risk of developing primary intraocular melanoma. It is rarely seen in children and people over age 70.
• Race- Primary intraocular melanoma affects white or fair-skinned people more than black people.
• Gender-Intraocular melanoma affects both men and women.
• Individual history-People with the following medical conditions have a higher risk of developing primary intraocular melanoma:
• Family history- melanoma can run in families, due to a mutation or change in a gene called BAP1.
• Other factors- Exposure to sunlight or tanning beds or certain chemicals may trigger intraocular melanoma. Diagnosis
The tests that can detect eye cancer are following-
1. Eye Exam- the eye specialists examine the structures of the eyes in more detail and check for abnormalities
2. Ultrasound scan- a small probe is used to find out more about the position of the tumor and its size. It is kept on the closed eye and uses high-frequency sound waves are passed to develop an image of the internal parts of the eye.
3. Fluorescein angiogram- a special camera is used to take pictures of suspected tumor after injecting a dye into the blood vessels of eyes to highlight the tumor
4. Biopsy- in rare cases, a small sample of tissue is removed from the tumor of eye tissues. Treatment
The treatment of eye cancer is dependent on the size and exact location of the tumor. The main treatments of eye melanoma are-
• Brachytherapy – tiny plates lined with a radioactive material called plaques are inserted near the tumor and kept in place for up to a week to kill the cancerous cells
• External radiotherapy – in this technique, beams of radiation are focussed on the tumor to destroy the cancerous cells
• Surgery- it is selected when the eye has some scope of vision. In this procedure, the tumor or part of the eye is removed.
• Removal of the eye (enucleation) – this may be necessary if the tumor is too large or the patient has lost vision; the eye will eventually be replaced with an artificial eye that matches your other eye
• Chemotherapy- It is rarely recommended for eye melanoma, but it can be used for different types of eye cancer. Outlook
The outlook of the eye cancer depends on the size of the tumor, its time of diagnosis and parts of the eye affected
• Nearly 80% of patients diagnosed with a small eye melanoma will survive up to minimum five years after detection
• Almost 70% of the patients diagnosed with a medium-sized eye melanoma will survive up to minimum five years after detection
• Nearly 50% of the patients diagnosed with a large eye melanoma will survive up to minimum five years after detection