What is it?

Eye tumors are usually secondary tumors that spread from tumors in different body sites such as breast, lung, bowel or prostate. The main primary tumors of the eye are melanoma in adults and retinoblastoma in children. Melanoma typically occurs in the ages 60-65, as a result of abnormal growth of melanocytes. It can occur in the choroid, iris and ciliary body. Another intraocular tumor can be orbital lymphoma. In children the most common intraocular tumor is retinoblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the immature retinal cells. Other rare cancers of the eye include conjunctival melanoma, eyelid carcinoma, and lacrimal gland tumor. Tumors are caused due to gene mutation- either inherited or acquired .

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Signs & symptoms

Eye tumor symptoms may include blurry vision, flashes of light, wiggly lines, shadows, a dark patch in the eye that is getting bigger, partial or total loss of vision, bulging of an eye, a lump in the eyelid or pain around the eye.


Eye tumor diagnosis is based on medical history, physical examination and an eye examination with a slit lamp and an ophthalmoscope.Usually, a biopsy is needed for definite diagnosis (in melanoma a biopsy is not needed). To look for metastases, imaging tests such as CT, PET-CT or an MRI may be done. Other tests can include eye ultrasound, fluorescein angiography and cytogenetics and gene expression profiling- to help determine treatment options.


Treatment of eye tumors depends on the diagnosis, size and aggressiveness of the tumor. Laser treatment and cryosurgery are possible treatments for small tumors. Radiation therapy is also used to treat some sort of tumor. Eye enucleation is a removal of the eye that preserves the eye muscle and eyelids. Then, an implant is inserted. Evisceration is a removal of the eye content while exenteration is a removal of the eye which involves the eyelid as well. Other operations include iridocyclectomy, thyroidectomy and eyewall resection. Chemotherapy is also available in some cases.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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