Eye neoplasm

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Eye Neoplasm Microchapters

Patient Information



Choroidal Tumors
Conjunctival Tumors


Differential Diagnosis

Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1] Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Roukoz A. Karam, M.D.[2]

Synonyms and Keywords: Eye neoplasm; eye cancer


Ocular oncology is the branch of medicine dealing with tumors relating to the eye and its adnexa. Cancer of the eye is very rare; however, the most common neoplasm of the eye is ocular melanoma. Eye cancer can affect all parts of the eye.


  • Most common malignant intraocular tumor in children is retinoblastoma
    • Affecting approximately 325 children per year in North America
    • Early detection has allowed for cures exceeding 95%
  • Most common orbital malignancy is orbital lymphoma
  • Orbital dermoid cysts
    • Benign choristomas
    • Usually found at the junction of sutures (most commonly fronto-zygomatic suture)
    • Can cause pressure effects on the muscles and optic nerve, leading to diplopia and loss of vision

Choroidal tumors

Conjunctival tumors

Risk Factors

Risk factors that increase the chance of suffering from cancer of the eye include:

  • Light skin and/or blue eyes
  • Exposure to sun or tanning beds
    • Increase risk of eyelid carcinomas or melanomas
  • Exposure to certain viruses
    • Human papilloma virus may increase the risk of squamous cell carcinoma of conjunctiva
  • Atypical mole and melanoma syndrome (originally called dysplastic nevus syndrome)


  • Nevus - Are benign, freckle in the eye. These should be checked out and regular checks on the eye done to ensure it hasn't turned into a melanoma.
  • Iris and conjuctival tumors (melanomas) - Presents as a dark spot. Any spot which continues to grow on the iris and the conjunctiva should be checked out.
  • Retinoblastoma - Strabismus (crossed eyes), a whitish or yellowish glow through the pupil, decreasing/loss of vision, sometimes the eye may be red and painful. Retinoblastoma can occur in one or both eyes. This tumor occurs in babies and young children. It is called RB for short. Check photographs, normal healthy eyes would have the red eye reflex, but a white/yellow dot instead of the red eye reflex can indicate a tumor or some other kind of eye disease. Any photos of a child/children which have a white/yellow dot instead of the red eye reflex should be checked out.

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