Eye cancer symptoms

There are not always obvious symptoms for eye cancer and it is most likely to be picked up during a routine eye test.

The possible symptoms of eye cancer include:

  • bulging of one eye
  • complete or partial loss of sight
  • pain in or around the eye (rare with eye cancer)
  • a pale raised lump on the surface of the eye (the conjunctiva or cornea)
  • blurred vision
  • change in the appearance of the eye
  • lump on the eyelids or around the eye
  • seeing spots or flashes of light or wiggly lines in front of your eyes
  • blinkered vision (loss of peripheral vision) – you can see what is straight ahead clearly, but not what is at the sides
  • a dark spot on the coloured part of the eye (the iris) that is getting bigger
  • eye irritation, red eye or chronic inflammation of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis)

Pain is quite rare unless the cancer has spread to the outside of the eye or caused the pressure inside the eye (intraocular pressure) to become too high.

When to see your doctor

Remember that cancer of the eye is rare. Eye conditions that aren't eye cancer can cause many of these symptoms. It is important that you report any of them to your GP or optometrist. 

An optometrist is a health care professional trained to examine the eye. They can identify conditions and diseases that affect the eye including eye cancers. They will then refer you to an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for specialist treatment. 

The earlier a cancer is picked up, the easier it is to treat it. This makes it more likely for the treatment to be successful.

Last reviewed: 
09 Sep 2021
Next review due: 
09 Sep 2024
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