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Symptoms of Common Eye Tumors

Eye tumors can manifest in various forms and may or may not cause symptoms. Early diagnosis and treatment are crucial for the outlook of different types of eye tumors. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of common eye tumors such as melanomas, retinoblastoma, conjunctival melanoma, and conjunctival squamous cell cancer. Understanding these symptoms can help you seek prompt medical attention and improve the chances of successful treatment for these eye tumors.

Tumors in Eye

There are different types of tumors that can occur in the eye. It is important to know about basic eye tumors as the outlook for different types of tumors is good with early diagnosis and  treatment.

Eye tumors can begin in or around the eyes and maybe large growth, tiny dot, or something in between.

Eye tumors may not always cause symptoms unless they progress. A few types of tumors include:(1)

Melanomas are a dangerous type of cancer and can demand early treatment.

Symptoms of Common Eye Tumors

It’s important to note that some common eye tumors may not cause any symptoms in the early stages. This makes regular eye exams crucial for early detection and treatment.

Additionally, some of the symptoms listed below can also be caused by other conditions, so it’s important to see an eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms. An eye doctor can diagnose the condition and determine the best course of treatment, which may range from medication to surgery. Early detection and treatment can increase the chances of a positive outcome.

Symptoms of Melanomas

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Melanoma of the eyes has a high risk of spreading. Metastatic eye tumors can be fatal in some cases.(2)

Choroidal Melanoma

Choroidal melanoma is the most common type of eye cancer in adults affecting the middle layer of the eye. It can also affect the ciliary body under the lens. The symptoms of choroidal melanoma include:(3)

  • Detachment of the retina in the case of large cancer
  • Dark growth in the eye visible as a shadow at the back of the eye
  • Change in vision, such as blurred vision or flashes of light
  • Eye floaters
  • Pressure in the eye
  • Pain in the eye

Some people may not show any symptoms.

Conjunctival Melanoma

Conjunctiva is the outer layer of tissue that covers the eye. Conjunctival melanoma is a type of eye cancer that is rare. The symptoms of conjunctival melanoma include:

  • Elevated dark growth in the eyes
  • Changes in vision including vision loss, flashing lights, or blurred vision
  • Spot on the eyes that grows

People with light skin and blue eyes are more vulnerable to conjunctival melanoma. (2)

Symptoms of Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is the most common type of childhood cancer that occurs in the eye and starts at the back of the eye.(4) About 1-3% of the cases of retinoblastoma are present by birth.
Retinoblastoma develops in the retinoblast, cells that are present in the retina. These cells malfunction and grow out of control. The tumor may be present only in one eye of the child with a noninheritable form and can also be present in both eyes in children with genetically inheritable form.

The symptoms that may appear early in life or at birth include:

  • Pupil that may look white when light shines into it instead of red or pink
  • Strabismus or lazy eye
  • White flashes in the eyes
  • Pain in eyes, vision issues, bulging eye, or differences in the iris, the colored portion of the eye.

Symptoms of Conjunctival Squamous Cell Cancer

Squamous cell carcinoma affects the middle and outer layers of the skin. This is the most common type of cancer affecting the conjunctiva of the eye.

The growth of squamous cell carcinoma is very light making them difficult to detect. The symptoms of squamous cell carcinoma include:(5)

  • Red eye in just one eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Eye irritation
  • Sensation of something in the eye
  • Painless, light or white-colored growth in the eye

How are Eye Tumors Diagnosed?

To diagnose an eye tumor, the doctor needs to rule out other problems that may be causing symptoms before the presence of a tumor. Often injury or infection to the skin may cause symptoms similar to eye tumors.

Several exams may be needed in the diagnostic process. The doctor might likely do the following:

  • Get information about the complete medical and family history
  • Examine the eye with a pupil reflex test
  • Perform blood test
  • Use imaging scans such as MRI, ultrasounds, and CT scans to check the back of the eye
  • A more detailed exam can be done by examining a person under anesthesia.

A biopsy may be needed. This may involve numbing the eye with local anesthesia and putting a person to sleep. A needle may be needed to take a sample from the eye tumor and would be sent to the lab.

Self-diagnosing eye tumors is not possible. Therefore, consulting a doctor is important. Survival rates of retinoblastoma and squamous cell carcinoma are positive. (4) Melanomas have a low survival rate. (2) A person can discuss with a doctor the treatment options and outlook.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 5, 2023

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