Symptoms of Eye Tumors

Symptoms of Eye Tumors

Eye tumors are growths on the eye or within the orbit (socket) of the eye. The most common type of eye tumor is choristoma, which develops from cells that remain in place after an embryonic organ stops growing (usually during early development). Other types of tumors include melanomas and lymphomas, although these cancers can develop anywhere in the body and affect the eyes.


Symptoms vary depending on the type and location of eye tumors but may include:

• Visual changes

• Double vision or other problems with eye movement

• Eye pain (especially when moving the eyes)

• Blurred or double vision

• Loss of peripheral vision


Most people with an ocular tumor have obvious symptoms to seek medical attention. When symptoms are present, the eye doctor will ask about them and perform a comprehensive eye examination to identify the cause or causes of any vision problems.

This includes testing the visual field, examining the optic nerve for swelling, using an instrument called a slit lamp to look closely at the front of the eyes under high magnification, and measuring internal pressure in the eye to rule out glaucoma as a cause of increased stress.

Eye melanoma:

Eye melanoma is one type of cancer that affects the eyes. Melanoma occurs when pigment-producing cells called melanocytes develop mutations that cause them to grow out of control, producing tumors. Eye melanoma is sporadic, accounting for approximately 1 percent of all melanomas.

Eye melanoma is often detected as a brownish spot on the eye’s surface called a choroidal lesion. In other cases, it appears as an irregularly-shaped dark purple to black bump beneath the retina at the back of the eyeball.


Diagnosis and evaluation typically include a thorough dilated eye examination along with other tests such as ultrasound, visual field testing, and OCT imaging to help assess tumor size, location, and how deeply it has penetrated tissues surrounding the eye. Blood tests may be ordered to evaluate blood vessel growth in response to tumor development (neoangiogenesis).


Surgical removal of the tumor (enucleation) is most often performed if no other severe conditions affect vision. Neo-adjuvant chemotherapy can be followed by radiation therapy after surgery in some cases.


If not completely removed, melanoma may recur. Treatment during recurrence involves removing as much of the tumor as possible while preserving vision, then adjuvant concurrent chemo-radiotherapy with injections directly into the eye for small tumors near sensitive structures. A type of drug called an immune checkpoint inhibitor might also be used to help prevent or slow tumor regrowth.

Treatment of brown tumors caused by cavernous hemangioma is brutal, but surgical resection has a low risk of significant complications. Recurrence is a late complication.

They must be distinguished from neoplasia that resembles these tumors, such as juvenile xanthogranuloma, immature melanocytic nevus, and vascular malformations. In the past histological examination was required to distinguish brown tumors from benign lesions because of their similar gross appearances.

However, recent advances in fluorescence microscopy have allowed visualization of cellular structures by direct staining with anti-melanocyte antibodies or fluorescent melanocyte markers for rapid diagnosis.

Types of eye tumors:

There are three different types of eye tumors.

It is a benign tumor usually easily treated by surgery, drug therapy, or radiation treatment.

The significant risk factors for this lesion include exposure to UV rays and long-term use of corticosteroid drugs.


They typically develop from cells that secrete mucus in the conjunctiva; they can be found inside, outside, or beneath the outer layer of the white part of your eyeball. Adenomas commonly appear as soft translucent tumors that float under the conjunctival tissue and touch or may even cover up your pupil.

You may find them more harmful if they begin developing blood vessels, making these benign growths look like more threatening malignant tumors. Adenomas typically grow slowly and seldom spread to other organs.

While treatment is usually not necessary, your ophthalmologist will remove the adenoma if it appears symptomatic, including:

– Redness or irritation of the eye muscle under the tumor.

With proper care and patient education:  Can be avoided with adequate protection from sunlight and UV rays and staying away from tobacco smoke and corticosteroid drugs as much as possible


It appears as red patches under the conjunctival tissue containing broken vessels filled with lymphatic fluid, which can cause swelling in your eyelids, bridge of nose, or cheeks, thus making these benign growths look like malignant tumors. Though they are soft, some can cause headaches, double vision, eyelid pressure, or pain.

Lymphangioma is harmless growth that does not affect vision or your ability to see. If you feel their presence is affecting you somehow, it is recommended to have them removed for the sake of appearance and hygiene.

Pupillary Malsjorrhagia:

It appears as red patches under the conjunctival tissue, filled with blood vessels, thus making these benign growths seem like malignant tumors. Treatment is rarely needed for pupillary malsjorraghia but will depend mainly on whether they are subclinical or symptomatic. Subclinical ones are usually left untreated unless they become symptomatic, requiring surgical resection during an eye operation.

Eye tumor causes:

Some of the causes for eye tumors include exposure to UV rays, long-term use of corticosteroid drugs, and damage caused by radiation.  Gender also seems to be a significant factor in these malignant growths since they are more common in males than females.

There is no known link between smoking cigarettes and eye tumor development, but studies concerning this matter are still being conducted.

Eye cancer treatment:

Treatment of brown tumors caused by cavernous hemangioma is brutal, but surgical resection has a low risk of significant complications. Recurrence is a late complication.

They must be distinguished from neoplasia that resembles these tumors, such as juvenile xanthogranuloma, immature melanocytic nevus, cutaneous neurofibroma, and ocular histiocytosis.

Blood tests and eye examination may be needed to diagnose these tumors.

Some signs that your doctor will look for include:

– Redness of the eyeball

– Pupil dilation (black hole – pupil).

The plastic surgeon weaves a fishing line through the cornea as a suture, sometimes as many as 1,200 times per eye. You must wait about five months to wear contact lenses or have an operation on the other eye after the first one is completed.  The surgery often restored partial sight in patients born with cataracts; however, it can fail if another condition such as glaucoma has further damaged the eye.

The surgery has no preservation of sight, but structure and function are possible in the unaffected eye.

Surgery for choroidal melanoma or retinal tumors:

Surgery may be an option if the tumor can be eradicated before it spreads to other parts of your body. The surgeon will cut a hole through your sclera (white part) and remove the cancerous tissue and some normal tissue around it. Your surgeon cannot remove all of cancer without damaging your vision so that those follow-up treatments may be necessary after your surgery.

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