Cancer of the eye is a rare condition. It is important to note that the eye can suffer from a variety of different types of cancer. Most commonly, eye (ocular) melanomas are found in children and young adults.
There are cancerous cells called melanocytes that are responsible for developing melanomas. A skin’s colour is determined by its melanocytes. The majority of melanomas develop in the skin. It is also possible for it to begin in other places, like the eye, because melanocytes are found in different parts of the body.
Typical Symptoms of Eye Cancer
A routine eye test may not detect eye cancer if no symptoms are apparent since the disease doesn’t cause immediate symptoms.
Cancer of the eye can display several symptoms such as:
- There might be shadows, flashes of light, or wiggly lines running through your vision
- Blurry vision
- Your eye has a dark patch that is growing large
- Loss of some or all of a person’s sight
- One eye is bulging
- Your eyelids or eyeball are swollen or growth is bothering you
- Occasionally, you may experience pain in or around your eye
Other conditions can cause these symptoms, so they’re not necessarily a sign of cancer.
It’s vital to see a doctor right away if your symptoms persist.
Types Of Eye Cancers
Eye cancer can come in many forms, including:
- Eye Melanoma,
- Squamous cell carcinoma
It is possible that cancer can develop around the eyeball or spread from other body parts, such as the lungs or breasts, to the eye.
The term “melanoma” refers to cancerous growths that develop from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.
Many types of melanomas can develop in the skin, but they can also occur anywhere on the body, even in the eye.
Eye melanoma is a type of cancer that most commonly affects the eyeball. According to the definition doctors use, the uveal or choroidal type of melanoma depends on exactly where the cancer is located in your eye.
Also read: How Often Should I Get My Eyes Tested?
There is also a possibility that it can affect the conjunctiva (the thin tissue layer covering the front of the eye) as well as the eyelids.
What Causes Eye Melanoma
Melanomas develop from pigment-producing cells called melanocytes.
Although melanomas are most commonly found on the skin, there is a possibility that they can occur in other parts of the body, such as the eye.
The eyeball is most commonly affected by eye melanoma. According to the subtype, it can be called either uveal melanoma or choroidal melanoma.
As well as the conjunctiva (thin layer covering the front of your eye), It can also affect the eyelids.
Why Do Eyes Get Melanoma?
Melanoma of the eye develops when the pigment-producing cells multiply quickly. A tumour results from this process.
These factors may increase the risk of this occurring, but it is unclear exactly why they occur:
- People with blue, grey, green, or lighter eye colours have a higher risk of developing eye melanoma compared to those who have brown eyes
- Those with fair skin are at higher risk for developing eye melanoma than those with white or pale skin.
- The more unusual your moles are, the higher your risk is of developing skin cancer or eye melanoma
- Some evidence suggests that using sunbeds can increase your risk of eye melanoma by exposing you to ultraviolet (UV) radiation
- The risk of skin cancer is increased by overexposure to sunlight, and it may also increase the risk of eye melanoma
- Eye melanoma is also more common in people in their 50s, with most cases being diagnosed by then.
Diagnosing & Treatment For Eye Melanoma
A GP or an optician (optometrist) might refer you to an ophthalmologist if they suspect a serious problem with your eyes.
Those with melanoma of the eye will refer you to a centre that treats eye cancer specialists.
You will likely have tests that include:
- Checking for abnormalities in your eyes during an eye examination
- A high-frequency sound wave is used to create an image of the interior of your closed eye using an ultrasonic probe; your doctor can use this image to find out more about the location of a tumour and its size.
- When the dye is injected into your bloodstream, the cancer is highlighted by a fluorescein angiogram, which uses a special camera to take pictures of the tumour
- The tumour may be sampled with a thin needle (biopsy).
These cells are analyzed to determine the likelihood of cancer coming back or spreading.
Eye melanoma requires treatment according to its location and size.
Also read: When Are Painful Eyes An Emergency?
In addition to any potential complications, the team will explain each treatment option thoroughly.
Whenever possible, the eye will be preserved during treatment.
Melanoma of the eye is generally treated with the following treatments:
- In brachytherapy, tiny plates lined with radioactive material are placed near the tumour and left in place for up to a week to kill cancerous cells
- Cancer cells can be killed by external radiotherapy, which involves carefully aiming radiation beams at the tumour
- The tumour can be removed or part of the eye may be removed if it is small and there is still some peripheral vision.
- The eye may need to be removed (enucleation) if the tumour is too large or you lost your vision; the artificial eye will match your other eye eventually
- Cancer of the eye may be treatable using chemotherapy, whereas eye melanoma is rarely treated with it.
Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) results in abnormal, accelerated growth of squamous cells. SCCs are usually curable when they are caught early.
What Causes Squamous Cell Carcinoma
It occurs when the DNA of the flat, thin cells in your skin’s middle and outer layers changes (mutates). The DNA of a cell contains instructions for what a cell should do. Mutations in squamous cells regulate the growth and survival of the cells.
In sunlight and tanning beds, ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes the bulk of the DNA mutations in skin cells.
Nevertheless, sun exposure does not explain skin cancers not usually exposed to sunlight. The likelihood of developing skin cancer is also increased if you have a condition that weakens your immune system.
Diagnosing & Treatment For Squamous Cell Carcinoma
Diagnosing squamous cell carcinoma of the skin involves:
- An examination of the physical body. Squamous cell carcinoma of the skin is detected by your doctor asking about your health history and examining your skin.
- Taking a tissue sample for testing. A biopsy is performed by your doctor to determine if the suspicious skin lesion is squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Based on your situation, you may need to undergo a skin biopsy. An examination of the tissue takes place in a laboratory.
As the body’s germ-fighting system, the lymphatic system is a target of lymphoma.
In addition to lymph nodes (lymph glands), the lymphatic system also includes the spleen, thymus gland, and bone marrow. In addition to these areas, lymphoma can affect other organs in the body as well.
There are a variety of lymphoma types. Among the main subtypes are:
- This is a type of cancer once called Hodgkin’s disease (Hodgkin’s lymphoma).
- Lymphoma non-Hodgkin’s’
The type and severity of lymphoma determine the type of treatment that is best for you. A bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy, immunotherapy drugs, radiation therapy, or all of them may be used to treat lymphoma.
What Causes Lymphoma
Lymphoma isn’t known to cause any specific symptoms. Genetic mutations affect white blood cells that fight diseases, called lymphocytes. This mutation causes the lymphocytes to multiply rapidly, causing a vast number of diseased lymphocytes.
Also read: Do I Need Glasses? Test Your Vision
Moreover, it makes it possible for the cells to live longer than normal cells. Your lymph nodes are filled with dead and ineffective lymphocytes, resulting in swelling of the lymph nodes, spleen, and liver.
Diagnosing & Treatment For Lymphoma
Diagnose lymphoma with tests and procedures such as:
- A physical. Among other things, your doctor looks for swollen lymph nodes, including those in your neck, underarms, and groin.
- Lymph node removal for testing. To test your lymph nodes, your doctor may recommend an all or part lymph node biopsy procedure. The presence and type of lymphoma cells can be examined by advanced tests.
- Blood tests. Your doctor can use a blood count to determine your diagnosis based on the number of cells in your blood.
- Testing bone marrow by removing a sample. Bone marrow biopsy is the procedure that involves inserting a needle into your hipbone to take a sample of the bone marrow. A lymphoma cell count is performed on the sample.
- Imaging tests. Depending on where the lymphoma is present in other areas of your body, your doctor may recommend imaging tests. A CT scan, an MRI scan, or a positron emission tomography (PET) can be performed.
- Depending on your condition, you may undergo other tests or procedures.
Lymphoma comes in many forms, and knowing which type you have can help you develop an effective treatment plan. Biopsy samples are better diagnosed when examined by a pathologist. If your diagnosis is not sure, consider seeking a second opinion.
Young children, usually under the age of 5, can be affected by retinoblastoma, a rare type of eye cancer.
It is often possible to successfully treat retinoblastoma if it is detected early. More than 90% of children with this condition are cured.
Both eyes can be affected by retinal blastoma. Usually, a child with both eyes gets diagnosed before they turn one. It is usually diagnosed as part of early childhood (between 2 and 3 years old) if it affects only one eye.
What Causes Retinoblastoma
A retinal cancer is a retinoblastoma. This light-sensitive membrane lines the back of your eye.
The retinal eye cells of a newborn grow rapidly and then stop growing.
Rarely, however, 1 or more cells grow and become retinoblastoma, a cancerous tumour.
Around four out of ten (40%) cases of retinoblastoma are caused by faulty genes, which affect both eyes (bilaterally).
An altered gene (mutation) may occur during embryonic development or may be inherited from a parent.
Sixty per cent of retinoblastoma cases remain unknown. Usually, only 1 eye is affected (unilateral) and there’s no faulty gene.
Diagnosing & Treatment For Retinoblastoma
With an ophthalmoscope (a magnifying device with a light at one end), your GP will check your red reflex in a darkened room.
Your GP will be able to see red reflections if the retina is healthy in your child’s eyes.
A white reflection could mean cataracts, retinal detachment, or retinoblastoma.
A referral (within 2 weeks) to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) will then be made.
It will be examined by an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) and another red reflex test may be done.
By increasing the pupil size, eye drops will allow you to see the retina at the back of the eye.
In retinoblastoma diagnosis, an ultrasound scan can also be helpful.
This is a simple procedure that involves applying gel to the outside of the eyelid and placing an ultrasound probe on it to scan the eye.
You will then be asked to attend a specialist appointment at a hospital.
Your child will undergo a comprehensive examination of their eyes at the specialist centre under general anaesthesia in order to confirm or rule out retinoblastoma.
Contact Belson Opticians For An Eye Examination
You should make sure that you are attending regular eye care appointments. If you are concerned about any of the above make sure you book an appointment with Belson Opticians today.