Eyeball tumors rare and often detected early with regular eye exam

An intraocular tumor is one that begins in the middle (uveal) layer of the eyeball. This type of tumor may form as a benign (noncancerous) cyst on the front or back of the iris (the colored part of the eye), or as a malignant (cancerous) melanoma or lymphoma. Although intraocular tumors are quite rare, your risk of developing this kind of tumor increases with age. It is also more common in Caucasians and in people with fair skin and light-colored eyes, such as blue or green.

Warning signs and diagnosis of eye tumor

Signs of an intraocular tumor include dark spots on the iris or color changes in the eye, making it is easier for a doctor to recognize the condition while the tumor is still small. Other symptoms may include blurred vision, floaters (spots that “float” in and out of sight), and changes in eyeball or pupil shape.

It is important to get regular eye exams so that your eye doctor can look for any changes in your eyes. Your doctor can diagnose an intraocular tumor by performing an eye exam and certain tests such as ultrasound or fluorescein angiography, which involves examination of the circulation of the eye using a fluorescent dye and special camera. If a tumor is discovered, treatment will depend on its size and location, what has caused it, and whether or not it is cancerous. If the tumor is benign, for example, your doctor may recommend a watchful approach over the course of time. If the tumor is malignant, additional testing may be needed to determine whether cancer has spread to other parts of your body.

Intraocular tumor treatment generally involves some combination of surgery and radiation therapy, if needed.

To schedule an appointment with a specialist at Main Line Health, call 1.866.CALL.MLH (1.866.225.5654) or use our secure online appointment request form.