What is Melanoma of the Eye and Who Gets it?

Sat Dec 11 2021

Melanoma, also known as skin cancer, develops in the melanin containing cells of the body (the cells that give skin it’s color). Contrary to popular belief, melanoma doesn’t just develop on the skin and present itself in the form of moles – it can also develop in the melanin cells inside your eyes. This is referred to as melanoma of the eye and is different from other types of eye cancer.

Types of melanomas of the eye

There are different types of eye melanomas that can occur in the eye. These are differentiated based on where they occur:

  • Melanomas that occur on the iris (which is the colored section of the eye)
  • Melanomas that occur on the choroid layer (this is a layer of connective tissues and blood vessels in the eye)
  • Melanomas that occur on the ciliary body (a section of the eye that’s on the front of the uvea and secretes aqueous humour into the eye)

What causes melanomas of the eye?

As with most cancers, the cause is unknown. Cancers develop when there are some errors (mutations) in the DNA of the cells, causing them to become unhealthy and divide endlessly. Melanomas of the eye are also caused due to such mutations. 

What are the symptoms?

Unfortunately, melanomas of the eye are very hard to detect as there are no early symptoms. However, as the disease begins to progress, the following symptoms may become apparent: 

  • Dark spots on the iris that grow with time
  • An increase in floaters in the visual field
  • Blurry vision in one eye
  • Changes in the shape of the pupil
  • Loss of peripheral vision

What are the risk factors for developing this disease?

With cancer, genetics and certain lifestyle conditions play a role in increasing your risk of developing the disease. This also holds true for melanoma of the eyes. Some of the risk factors for the same are:

  • Genetic mutations passed from parents to children
  • High exposure to UV lights
  • A predisposition to develop many moles
  • Having a light eye colour
  • Being over the age of 45 

Why should you choose CFS for treatments?

CFS is one of India’s largest chains of eye care centres, with a high-tech diagnostic lab. We work with leading ophthalmologists and oncologists in the field and can help you with timely diagnosis and effective treatment. In case you notice any changes in your vision, visit the nearest CFS clinic for help. 

Article: What is Melanoma of the Eye and Who Gets it?
Author: CFS Editorial Team   |   Dec 11 2021 | UPDATED 04:00 IST

*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his privatecapacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.

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