How to Spot Eye Cancer
Cancer of the eye can manifest in two different ways: cancers that start inside the eye (such as melanoma or intraocular lymphoma) and cancers that spread to the eye from other parts of the body (such as breast or lung cancers). Most eye cancer patients don’t have noticeable symptoms unless the cancer grows in certain parts of the eye or grows to an advanced stage. Spotting these types of eye cancer is easy; relying on regular examinations and focusing on physical changes to the eye or to your vision are key in catching less obvious cancers of the eye.
Spot Eye Cancer
Look for a growing spot on the iris. The iris is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil. Sometimes melanoma of the eye initially shows up as a spot on the iris that changes size or shape.
Notice if there are any physical changes to the position of the eyeball–has it changed position within the socket? Look for changes in how the eyeball moves in the socket–does it seem to move differently than it usually does? Bulging eyes also can be an indicator of eye cancer. In rare cases (usually large orbital tumors), you may feel pain.
Note any changes to vision. Decreased ability to see, a loss of the visual field or spots and squiggles that drift in and out of your field of vision could be symptoms of eye cancer. Although you should talk to your doctor if you have any possible symptoms of eye cancer, be sure to discuss any changes to vision, since these specific symptoms could represent a variety of eye problems–even just aging–and are not necessarily specific to cancer.
Visit an ophthalmologist for regular eye exams–especially if you or your family doctor think you might be at increased risk for eye cancer. This is the best way to spot eye cancer. By visiting an eye doctor regularly, you can be sure to mark any changes to your eye health or vision and address any problems as they arise.