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World Cancer Day: Excessive exposure to ultraviolet light cancer cause eye cancer

Not many people know that cancer can also occur in the eyes . Eye Cancer is a generic term used to explain many types of cancer or tumours that form in the tissues in and around the eye or in the exterior parts of the eye, such as the eyelid or conjunctiva (the thin-clear membrane that protects our eyes). It can occur in newborns, in children and in adults.

Dr Swathi Kaliki, Head, Operation Eyesight Universal Institute for Eye Cancer, L V Prasad Eye Institute, said that among all forms of cancers, the incidence of eye cancer is estimated to be low. But it can result in loss of life and vision.

“It is curable if the tumour is detected early. Spreading awareness will help in the early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of eye cancer, thus saving life and vision of a person,” she added.

She further said, “Whenever we are treating a patient with cancer, there are three goals that we want to achieve - first, save the life; second, save the eye; and third, save the vision of the patient. Despite our best efforts to save a life in a significant percentage of patients, eye removal surgery is required. Generally, this is because the patient comes to us at an advanced stage. Eye cancer can also spread from one eye to the other eye or to other parts of the body if not diagnosed early and treated appropriately.”

Dr Kaliki pointed out that certain eye cancers may be related to smoking, virus infection and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. They are unlikely to be related to food habits. Certain cancers can be inherited from affected family members, and those at risk should undergo screening with an eye cancer specialist.

“While most eye cancers cannot be prevented, it is important for individuals with a family history of eye cancer to undergo routine eye screening so that the disease can be detected early and treated appropriately. For those without any family history of eye cancer, if they notice any swelling/lesion (lump) in the eyelids or on the surface of the eye or forward protrusion of the eyes or experience decreased vision, they should go for an eye examination without delay,” added Dr Kaliki.

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