Visakhapatnam: incidence of eye cancer low, but neglect can cause blindness and even loss of life, say ocular oncologists

‘Spreading awareness will help in the early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of eye cancer’

Published - February 06, 2023 05:34 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM

Certain cancers can be inherited, and those at risk should undergo routine eye screening for early detection and treatment, say doctors

Certain cancers can be inherited, and those at risk should undergo routine eye screening for early detection and treatment, say doctors | Photo Credit: File photo

Though there is growing awareness on various types of cancers that affect different parts of the body, many people don’t even know that cancer can affect the eyes. Cancer occurs when the normal cells become cancerous, multiply and spread, resulting in formation of a mass called a tumour.

While the incidence of eye cancer is estimated to be low, compared to other types of cancers, it can result in loss of life and vision. Spreading awareness will help in the early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of eye cancer, thereby saving the vision and life of the patient.

“A significant percentage of patients come for treatment at an advanced stage, and eye removal surgery is the only option. Eye cancer can also spread from one eye to the other eye, or to other parts of the body, if not diagnosed early and treated appropriately,” Neha Gose and Akhila Mallu, ocular oncologists, L V Prasad Eye Institute, here, said in a statement.

Certain eye cancers may be related to smoking, viral infection and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. Certain cancers can be inherited, and those at risk should undergo routine eye screening for early detection and treatment. Others, who do not have any family history of eye cancer, if they notice any swelling/lesion (lump) in the eyelids or on the surface of the eye or forward protrusion of the eyes or experience decreased vision, should go for an eye examination without any delay.

The different kinds of eye cancer include eyelid tumours, which occur on the eyelids or eyebrow region, conjunctival tumours, corneal tumours, orbital tumours, which occur behind the eye and push the eye forward and intraocular tumours, which occur inside the eye in the region of the iris, retina, optic disc, etc

The symptoms

Bulging of the eye, swollen eyelids or a lump in the eyelid that is increasing in size, disproportion in the size of the two eyes, occurrence of a dark patch in the eye that is getting bigger in size, squint, redness or pain, blurred vision or partial or total vision loss.

It should be noted that these symptoms can also be caused by other minor or major eye problems, and are not necessarily a sign of eye cancer alone. Medical therapy or laser would suffice for smaller tumours, while large tumours may need surgery. Aggressive tumours need removal of the eye, and tumour along with chemotherapy and sometimes even radiotherapy.

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