What You Need to Know About Ocular Tumors
Sight is one of the most important human senses, but unfortunately there are plenty of conditions that can influence it a negative way. One of the most damaging conditions that can befall our eyes are ocular tumors.

What is an ocular tumor?

Just like with the tumors on any other organ, having one in or on your eye does not mean you do or will have cancer. Some tumors remain benign (non-cancerous) your entire life, without ever threatening it. Others turn into cancerous eventually, while third ones are the result of cancer spreading from other organs, known as metastasizing.

However even if a tumor does not threaten your life it can still impact your health - in this case you vision. Ocular tumors can be the result of all three cases mentioned above. Even if they are not deadly, they can still damage your vision seriously.

Ocular tumors can appear on the eyelids, around the eye, on and around the iris and also inside the eye. Diagnosing them early can be vital for a successful treatment, if one is needed. Some benign eye tumors that might require treatment are - choroidal hemangioma, eye mole, cavernous hemangioma.

What can be symptoms of ocular tumors?

There are a number of symptoms you may experience, the cause of which might be an ocular tumor. Some of those symptoms are:

  • Sudden blindness
  • Distorted vision
  • Blurred vision
  • Blind Spots
  • Very red and swollen eye
  • Growths in and around the eye
  • Strabismus
  • White pupils
  • Growing dark spot on the iris
  • Change in the size or shape of the pupil 

There are a lot of different symptoms and doing regular checkups with an eye specialist can help you catch eye conditions in their early stages. Having one or more of those symptoms can, but does not mean that you have an ocular tumor.

Am I at risk to develop an ocular tumor?

The risk of having tumors is to a huge degree based on genetics, so if you have someone in your family who has or had an ocular tumor, the chance of you having one also increases. When it comes to cancerous ocular tumors, they very rarely start in your eye, but are instead transferred from another part of your body. As for factors which increase the risk of ocular tumor, here are some:

  • Age is a risk factor for a lot of conditions and ocular tumor is also one of them
  • UV lights can also increase the chance of having an ocular tumor
  • Lighter tones of eye colour can contribute to some types of ocular tumor 

What is the treatment for ocular tumor?

Treatments for ocular tumors can involve many different methods depending on whether it is non-cancerous or cancerous. Typically tumors which are non-cancerous, do not require treatment unless they are obstructing the functions of your organs or cause discomfort due to their symptoms. Some types of treatment for eye cancer include:

  1. Surgical removal is one of the options. The degree of the removal depends on the impact of the tumor. It can range from simple removals from eye parts like the iris to more intrusive variations for a choroidal tumor. There is also the possibility of having to remove the eye if the tumor is too big and threatens more severe damage.
  2. Laser treatment has declined due to the high risk of causing damage to the vision as well, not just the tumor. Nowadays it is mainly used in combination with other treatments.
  3. Radiation therapy is another solution. Radiation therapy of ocular tumors can be external or internal. Internal radiation therapy includes implants, placed next to or inside the tumor, in order to mitigate the negative effect of radiation on normal cells. Implants can be temporary or permanent. 
Chemotherapy, targeted drugs treatment and immunotherapy are also regularly used in the case of ocular melanoma.

In conclusion

Visiting an eye specialist from time to time, can help you identify and treat potential threats to your eyes more efficiently. Early identification provides more time for observation and deciding on adequate treatment, if one is needed.