Types of Eye Cancer

Eye cancers can be primary (starts within the eye) and metastatic cancer (spread to the eye from another organ). The two most common cancers that spread to the eye from another organ are breast cancer and lung cancer. Other less common sites of origin include the prostate, kidney, thyroid, skin, colon lymphoma and leukemia.


Tumors in the eye and nearby tissue (collectively known as the orbit) can be benign (non-cancerous) tumors such as dermoid cysts but they can also be malignant tumors like rhabdomyosarcoma and retinoblastoma.

The most common eyelid tumor is basal cell carcinoma. This tumor can grow around the eye but rarely spreads to other parts of the body. Other types of common eyelid cancers include squamous carcinoma, sebaceous carcinoma and malignant melanoma.

The most common malignant primary intraocular tumor in adults is uveal melanoma. These tumors can occur in the choroid, iris and ciliary body. The latter are sometimes called iris or ciliary body melanoma.

The most common malignant intraocular tumor in children is retinoblastoma. Affecting approximately 325 children per year in North America, early detection has allowed for cures exceeding 95%. Another type often presenting in children is medulloepithelioma (also called diktyoma) which can occur in the ciliary body and uvea.

The most common orbital malignancy is orbital lymphoma. This tumor can be diagnosed by biopsy with histopathologic and immunohistochemical analysis. Most patients with orbital lymphoma can be offered chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

Orbital dermoid cysts are benign choristomas which are typically found at the junction of sutures, most commonly at the fronto-zygomatic suture. Large deep orbital dermoid cysts can have cause pressure effects on the muscles and optic nerve, leading to diplopia and loss of vision.


Choroidal tumors

Choroidal hemangioma
Choroidal melanoma
Choroidal metastasis
Choroidal nevus
Choroidal osteoma
Ciliary body melanoma
The Nevus of Ota

Conjunctival tumors

Conjunctival Kaposi's sarcoma
Epibulbar dermoid
Malignant conjunctival tumors
Lymphoma of the conjunctiva
Melanoma and PAM with atypia
Pigmented conjunctival tumors
Squamous carcinoma and intraepithelial neoplasia of the conjunctiva