Dark spots, ‘floaters,’ or other sudden changes in your vision could be signs of eye cancer.

If you have any of these symptoms, that doesn’t mean you have eye cancer. Still, they could be signs of a serious eye problem, and they require attention from an ophthalmologist—a doctor who specializes in eye diseases.

Floaters are specks or lines you can see drifting around in your field of vision. Most floaters are not a sign of cancer. They’re much more likely to be caused by age-related changes or an infection in your eyes. Tell your doctor if you have any of these possible symptoms of eye cancer.

Other signs include:

  • Bulging of the eye
  • A change in the size or shape of your pupil (the black part in the center of your eye)
  • Seeing flashes of light
  • Any loss of vision
  • A change in your eyeball’s position in the eye socket

Here’s more about eye cancer.

Eye cancer is any type of cancer that can form in or around your eye.

Cancer can start in the eye, or it can spread to the eye from another part of the body.

The most common type of eye cancer is intraocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma. “Intraocular” means “in the eye,” and melanoma is a type of skin cancer. Intraocular melanoma is a type of skin cancer in the eye.

Other less-common types of eye cancer:

  • Intraocular lymphoma is a type of lymphoma in the eye. Most intraocular lymphomas are non-Hodgkin lymphomas.
  • Retinoblastoma is a cancerous tumor in the retina, the area in the back of the eyeball that is sensitive to light. It’s the most common eye cancer in children.
Regular eye exams can help detect eye cancer early.

If your regular eye doctor finds any signs of eye cancer, you should be referred to an ophthalmologist who is trained to test for eye cancers. If you notice eye cancer symptoms between your regular visits to the eye doctor, you should schedule an appointment for another exam right away.

An ophthalmologist uses several different tests to look for eye cancer, such as shining an intense beam of light at the eye and examining the eye through a special microscope. If the doctor notices anything that isn’t normal, further tests will be done.

Tests could also include ultrasound and other highly specialized imaging tests that check the blood vessels in your eye and can find tumors. If the tests find a tumor, a small piece of the tumor may be removed so it can be tested in a lab.

Treatments for eye cancer include chemotherapy, laser therapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.

The exact treatment used is different for each patient, based on the type of eye cancer and how much the tumor has grown.

We have a team of experts to care for you.

At Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, we use a team approach to personalize your eye cancer care and treatment. Six board-certified ophthalmologists lead our eye cancer care teams, and all are experienced in treating the spectrum of eye cancers. They work closely with medical, surgical, and radiation oncologists and a dedicated group of nurses and social workers.

Our ophthalmology program is recognized as one of the best in the United States, and we offer a wide range of services

  • Routine vision screenings
  • Diagnosis and treatment of eye cancer and other complex eye conditions
  • Comprehensive eye surgeries
  • A certified ocularist, skilled in the creation and fitting of artificial eyes

Cancer Care Clinics

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics

200 Hawkins Drive
Iowa City, Iowa 52242

Eye Clinic

11200 Pomerantz Family Pavilion (PFP)
Elevator L, Level 1
Phone: 1-319-356-2852

Cancer Services-Quad Cities

1351 Kimberly Road
Suite 100
Bettendorf, Iowa 52722

University of Iowa Health Care Cancer Services-Quad Cities

Phone: 1-563-355-7733