February 4th is World Cancer Day. Eye (ocular) cancers can be detected during a routine eye examination. They can occur inside the eye or in the tissues surrounding the eyes. Around 850 Brits are diagnosed with eye cancer on a yearly basis. In fact, UK eye cancer rates have increased 25% since the 1990s. Rates peak around the age of 85–89. This is why Allegro Optical promotes World Cancer Day’s eye cancer awareness.
Types of Eye Cancer
Intraocular cancers (those inside the eyeball) include:
Uveal or choroidal melanoma accounts for most eye cancers in adults, but is still rare. It begins in the eye’s uvea, the middle layer of the eyeball. The uvea has 3 parts: the iris (the coloured part of the eye), the ciliary body (the part of the eye that helps the lens focus) and the choroid (a layer of blood vessels). Cancer’s of the uvea are usually easy to spot and so can be detected early on.
Retinoblastoma is a rare ocular tumour which normally affects children under five. It begins in the retina at the back of the eye. Babies and young children seldom complain about eyesight difficulties, so the presence of a squint (eye turning in or out) or a pupil that has a non-reddish/pale/white reflex to light, should alert parents. Children are entitled to yearly NHS sight tests regardless as to whether they need glasses, during which the health of the eyes is examined.
Lymphoma of the eye starts in the white blood cells and then can spread to the eyes. It can develop inside the eye or in the tissue surrounding the eye. Both types are very rare and are more likely to occur in people who have a weakened immune system.
Squamous cell carcinoma is a form of cancer that begins on the surface of the eye, the conjunctiva. It is generally slow growing and very rarely spreads.
Cancers around the eyes can affect the skin, muscle or nerve tissues. The most common tend to be types of skin cancers on the eyelids as a result of sun exposure. They include basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma.
Eye cancer – signs and symptoms
Eye cancer doesn’t always present with obvious symptoms and are often found during a routine eye examination. Symptoms or eye cancer can include:
- Blurry vision
- Partial or total loss of vision
- Flashes of light, a shadow or wiggly lines in your vision
- A dark patch in your eye that is increasing in size
- Changes to the colour or shape of the pupil
- Dark spots that appear on the iris (coloured part of the eye)
- Bulging/swelling of one eye
- A lump on your eyelid that is getting bigger
These signs and symptoms are often due to more minor eye conditions. Therefore, if you have any of these signs or symptoms, see an optometrist for an eye examination.
Protect your eyes
Routine eye examinations can detect many eye cancers before symptoms present. NHS sight tests provide basic eye care for those eligible and may detect the signs of some serious conditions.
Comprehensive Eye Examination
Allegro Optical’s Advanced Optometry Eye Examinations are bespoke sight tests that include further tests, such as fundus (retinal) photography, which helps track the progress of many eye conditions. Other tests may include Saccadic eye tracking (assessing the extraocular muscles and eye movements), and OCT scans (creating a 3D view of the retinal layers using light waves). 3D OCT is one of the most effective instruments for detecting intraocular eye cancer.
After the examination, you will receive your prescription, eye health report, scans (if required), and any other recommendations. These more comprehensive eye examinations are also available to NHS-eligible clients for a small top-up fee.
VisionCare by Allegro Optical
Good eye health is important to us at Allegro Optical. People with progressive eye conditions and eyesight problems often comment that they’d give anything to restore their sight. Because we believe prevention is better than the cure, Allegro Optical have now introduced VisionCare Plans. With 3 different levels of ongoing eye care, there’s something for everyone. Ask our staff for more details.
Schedule an eye exam now
If you have not had an eye examination since the COVID-19 lockdowns, schedule one now. Call Meltham 01484 90 70 90, Marsden 01484 76 88 88 or Greenfield 01457 353 100, to speak with one of our friendly team and arrange an appointment. Or book online today!