Eye cancer signs: Watch out for this symptom on the coloured part of your eye


EYE CANCER is not a common type of cancer but noticing certain signs as early as possible will help with your outlook. One of the symptoms to watch out for will appear on the coloured part of the eye, otherwise known as the iris.

Eye cancer symptoms can vary depending on the type of cancer you have and whereabouts in the eye it is.

One type of eye cancer, ocular melanoma, may not show any symptoms, and is usually found during a routine eye examination.

But if symptoms of eye cancer do show, then one to look out for can appear on the coloured part of the eye (the iris).

A dark spot on the iris that gets bigger is a sign if eye cancer, according to Cancer Research UK.


Other possible symptoms the charity lists include:

  • Bulging of one eye
  • Complete or partial loss of sight
  • Pain in or around the eye (rare with eye cancer)
  • A pale raised lump on the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva or cornea)
  • Blurred vision
  • Change in the appearance of the eye
  • Seeing spots or flashes of light or wiggly lines in front of your eyes
  • Blinkered vision (loss of peripheral vision) - you can see what is straight ahead clearly, but not what is at the sides
  • A dark spot on the coloured part of the eye (the iris) that is getting bigger
  • Eye irritation, red eye or chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis)

These symptoms don’t always indicate cancer. Other eye conditions share similar signs.

But if you experience any of these symptoms you should visit your GP, as the earlier a cancer is picked up the easer it is to treat.

The cause of eye cancer is now yet known, but experts believe there are risk factors for the disease developing.

Bupa says having eyes that are a pale colour - blue, grey or green - can mean you’re more likely to develop eye cancer.

Other risk factors are if you are older, if you are white with fair skin, if you have unusual brown spots in your eye, if you have lots of unusually shaped or large moles, and being exposed to sunlight may be a cause.

The health organisation adds: “Young children may get a form of eye cancer called retinoblastoma.

In about four out of 10 children with retinoblastoma, it’s caused by a faulty gene. Often both eyes are affected.

“It’s not known what the cause is in the remaining children.”

Eye melanoma is one of the most common types of eye cancer and most commonly affects the eyeball.

The outlook for melanoma of the eye depends on how big the cancer is at the time it’s diagnosed and exactly which parts of the eye are affected, says the NHS.

It adds: “Overall about eight out of every 10 people diagnosed with a small eye melanoma will live for at least five years after diagnosis.

“About seven out of every 10 people diagnosed with a medium-sized eye melanoma will live for at least five years after diagnosis.

“About five out of every 100 people diagnosed with a large eye melanoma will live for at east five years after diagnosis.”