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Eye Cancer Symptoms

Eye cancer is a broad term representing the cancers of various tissues in and around the eye. Cancer that develops in the eye is called intraocular cancer. Cancer that develops outside the eye is called extraocular cancer.

Some of the types of intraocular eye cancers are: Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Ocular melanoma and Retinoblastoma.

Some of the types of extraocular eye cancers are: Non-melanoma skin cancer that develops near the skin of eye, Rhabdomyosarcoma and Optic nerve tumours.

Symptoms of eye cancer depend on the type of eye cancer. But generally when people speak of eye cancer, in adults it means ocular melanoma and in children it means retinoblastoma.

In the early stages of most eye cancers that affect adults, there usually are no symptoms a person would notice by himself. However, the symptoms manifest after sometime. Here are few symptoms of eye cancer (ocular melanoma) in adults :

  • Blurred vision in one eye
  • Floaters or small “floating” spots in vision field
  • Change in iris color or dark spot on iris
  • Red and/or painful eye
  • Bulging eye
  • Loss of peripheral vision

Here are few symptoms of eye cancer (restinoblastoma) in children:

  • A white pupil also called as leukocoria
  • Misaligned eyes, or “cross eyes” also called strabismus
  • Eye pain due to development of glaucoma which is less common
  • Different colored pupil in each eye
  • White spot or bright white pupil is found in photographs of the children with eye cancer. Children with eye cancer react to the flash creating a “red eye” while some may even show “cats eye” appearance in the flash.
  • Leukokoria
  • Retinal tumor
  • Vision loss in one eye
  • Eye inflammation
  • Calcification of eye balls
  • White looking pupil

Symptoms of Primary Ocular Lymphoma:

  • Floaters
  • Blurred vision
  • Pain
  • A condition called conjunctival hyperemia
  • Spreading of the symptoms from one eye to another

Symptoms of Optic Glioma: It is the technical name for the growth of malignant tumor in the eye. It is a rare condition in children and mostly occurs below the age of 20 years. Some of the signs of this condition are;

  • Involuntary movement of the eyeball movement
  • Bulging of one or both eyes outward
  • Squinting
  • Partial or complete vision loss in one or both eyes
  • Symptoms of a condition diencephalic syndrome can be present like loss of appetite, loss of body fat, delayed growth, decreased memory and intellectual function and sleeping at daytime.

Symptoms of Intraocular Eye Cancer Symptoms:

  • Usually asymptomatic: A disease or condition is said so when there are no or very minimal symptoms observed.
  • Blurred vision
  • Distorted vision
  • Floaters in vision
  • Loss of vision
  • Dark spots in whites of eyes
  • Flashing lights
  • Distorted pupil
  • Altered color perception
  • Pigmented spots on iris

Facts and Statistics of Eye Cancer Symptoms:

  • Every year only 300 cases of retinoblastoma are diagnosed in the United States as the disease is rare.
  • Cancer in eye itself is a rare condition and people above the age of 50 years are at higher risk of getting this disease.
  • According to the American Cancer Society, 2,350 new cases of eye were diagnosed last year (2009) in the United States.
  • It resulted in the death of 230 people in this country.

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