Symptoms and diagnosis of eye cancer

Symptoms of eye cancer

Eye cancer is sometimes found during a routine eye exam when your doctor dilates your pupil and looks into your eye. Intraocular melanoma may not cause any early symptoms. Some symptoms of eye cancer include:

  • Bulging of the eye.
  • Some loss of sight.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Flashing lights.
  • Shadows and misting of the eye lens.
  • A dark spot on the iris.
  • Watery eyes.
  • Pain in or around the eye (rare).

These symptoms can also be due to diseases other than eye cancer. But do get them checked out by your doctor without delay.

Screening for eye cancer

If your family doctor (GP) is concerned, you will be referred to an eye specialist called an ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor or surgeon who looks after conditions of the eye.
The investigations you will have depend on the type of eye cancer you have. The investigations may include:


  • An eye exam
  • Ultrasound scan
  • MRI scan
  • Angiography - looks at the blood vessels in your eye using a dye
  • Blood tests
  • A biopsy - a fine needle is used to get a sample of tissue inside your eye

Some of the above scans can help to stage the cancer. This means finding out the size of the cancer and if it has spread anywhere else. This can help your doctor decide on the right treatment for you.

Learn more about the above tests.

Read next: Treatments for eye cancer.

Date Last Reviewed: 
Tuesday, December 19, 2017