An eye cancer is a form of cancer that originates in the eye region. This cancer develops into a tumor in the cells of the eye and may also spread from the eye region to the surrounding area.
There are mainly two types of eye cancers. These are categorized according to their place of origin, these are:
These types of eye cancers originate in the eyeball. Melanoma of the eye is the most common form of eye cancer in adults while primary intraocular lymphoma is the second most common types of eye cancer.
Children are usually affected by the retinoblastoma. This eye cancer originates in the retina cells and is the most common pediatric eye cancer.
These cancers do not originate in the eye but spread (metastasize) to it from another part of the body. These are not actually eye cancers in the true sense however these are more commonly seen than the primary intraocular cancers.
Breast and lung cancers are the most common cancers that are known to spread to the eye to their closer proximity. Mostly, these metastasized cancers affect the 'uvea' of the eyeball.
These are some of the known risk factors that are liable to increase the risk of eye cancer:
These are the commonly seen signs and symptoms of an eye cancer:
It is advisable to consult with an experienced ophthalmologist or an oncologist in case you experience any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms for prompt diagnosis and successful treatment of the cancer.
The initial diagnosis for a suspected eye cancer is a physical examination, which involves examining the eye with a lighted scope (ophthalmoscope) and a slit lamp (microscope with attached light-source).
The doctor (ophthalmologist/cancer specialist) may advise an ultrasound to create an image of the eye using sound waves and checking it for abnormal growths (tumors)
A fluorescein angiography takes a picture of the vascular system (network of blood vessels) in the eye after injecting a contrasting dye in it through the arm.
A computerized tomography (CT) scan can also create a clear image of the soft tissues of the eye that can be easily checked to indentify abnormal growths. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) test is also useful for checking the stage of metastasis (spread) of the cancer.
The treatments for eye cancers are usually a combination of various different methods due to the intricate and complex structure of the eyeball and its neighboring region.
These are some of the common eye cancer treatment methods:
The surgical treatment of the eye cancer aims to remove the tumor as well as a small margin of the surrounding healthy tissue with it. This is to prevent the tumor from recurring in the same spot. This surgical treatment is also known as a 'surgical resection'. An experienced ophthalmologist will perform the surgical resection for mostly primary intraocular melanoma type of eye cancer.
In case the eye has been extensively affected by the cancer the surgeon might need to remove some parts of the eye, or remove the whole eye completely.
These are the various surgical treatment techniques for treating eye cancer:
The radiation therapy is used commonly for treating as well as for palliative care after an enucleation surgery is performed to remove the eye.
This therapy uses high-energy and precise beams of particles (such as x-ray, etc) to target the cancerous cells in the eye and destroy them. This can be performed using an external radiation device. Or it can be given via an implant that gives off radiation from inside the body, near the tumor to destroy it.
This is a commonly performed procedure which is useful for shrinking the size of the tumor in the eye. This is a more advantageous treatment procedure than radiation therapy or surgery as it produces almost no side-effects or complications.
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