Eye Cancer: Overview
Eye cancer may be a general term wont to describe many sorts of tumors which will start in various parts of the attention. It occurs when healthy cells in or round the eye change and grow uncontrollably, forming a mass called a tumor. A tumor can be benign or cancerous. A benign tumor means the tumor can grow but won't spread. A cancerous tumor is malignant, meaning it can grow and spread to other parts of the body. Cancer that forms in the eyeball is called an intraocular (inside the eye) malignancy.
Medical doctors who specialize in the diseases and function of the eye are called ophthalmologists or “eye MDs”. These doctors can diagnose and treat intraocular melanoma (see below). Optometrists are another type of eye doctor. They prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses. They are not medical doctors and are not trained to treat intraocular cancer.
Parts of the eye
The eye is the organ that collects light and sends messages to the brain to form a picture. The three main parts of the eye are:
Ø Orbit (eye socket)
Ø Adnexal (accessory) structures, such as the eyelid and tear glands
The outer part of the eye is made up of the sclera, retina, and uvea. The sclera is the outer wall of the eyeball. The retina may be a thin-layered structure that lines the attention ball and sends information from the eye to the brain. The uvea nourishes the eye. Both the retina and the uvea contain blood vessels.
The uvea consists of the following:
Ø Iris: The colored part of the eye that controls the amount of light entering the eye
Ø Ciliary body: Muscular tissue that produces the watery fluid in the eye and helps the eye focus
Ø Choroid: The layer of tissue underneath the retina that contains connective tissue and melanocytes, which are pigmented (colored) cells, and nourishes the inside of the eye.
Eye Cancer: Risk Factors
A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of developing cancer. Although risk factors often influence the event of cancer, most don't directly cause cancer. Some people with several risk factors never develop cancer, while others with no known risk factors do. However, knowing your risk factors and talking about them with your doctor may help you make more informed lifestyle and health care choices.
The following factors can raise a person’s risk of developing eye cancer:
Ø Age. People over age 50 are most likely to be diagnosed with primary intraocular melanoma. In fact, the average age of diagnosis is 55. It is rare in children and people over age 70.
Ø Race. Primary intraocular melanoma is more common in white people and less common in black people.
Ø Gender. Intraocular melanoma affects about equal numbers of men and women.
Ø Individual history.People with the following medical conditions have a higher risk of developing primary intraocular melanoma:
People with a combination of these risk factors may benefit from seeing an ophthalmologist for a yearly examination and protecting their eyes from ultraviolet (UV) radiation with sunglasses. Anyone who finds unusual moles or other skin growths round the eye or elsewhere on the body should see a dermatologist, a doctor specializing in skin diseases. This is especially important if there is a family history of melanoma.
Eye Cancer: Symptoms and Signs
People with intraocular melanoma often have no symptoms. Many times, an ophthalmologist finds the melanoma during a daily eye examination. The most common symptom is painless loss of vision.
People with eye cancer may experience the subsequent symptoms or signs. Sometimes people with eye cancer don't show any of those symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.
Ø Having trouble seeing
Ø Losing part of the field of vision
Ø Seeing flashes of light
Ø Seeing spots, squiggly lines, or floating objects (floaters)
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