Categorized | Cancer

Eye Cancer

Eye cancer is a general term for many different types of cancer that can develop inside the globe of the eye, as well as the eyelids and the orbit. Cancer can affect the iris (the part that surrounds the centre of the eye (pupil), conjunctiva (the thin layer of substance that covers the eye and protects it), vitreous (the jelly-like substance that fills the eyeball), eye muscles, lacrimal (tear) gland, the orbit (the muscular tissue around the eyeball), etc. Cancer occurs when cells in the eye become abnormal and start multiplying without control. Eye cancer is generally quite rare in the UK.

Intraocular (inside the eye) cancers occur in parts of the eyeball. Cancers that affect the orbit are called orbital cancers. Cancers that occur in the eyelids or lacrimal glands are referred to as adnexal cancers.

Symptoms of eye cancer include swelling of one eye, watering, full or partial loss of sight, blurry vision, seeing spots or flashes of light and (very rarely) pain in the eye.

The most common type of eye cancer is ocular melanoma. The risk factors to develop eye melanoma include eye colour (blue or green is more risky than brown) and exposure to sunlight or UV radiation. Other common types of eye cancer are squamous cell carcinoma, eye lymphoma and retinoblastoma.

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