One or more of the following physical symptoms may indicate eye cancer:
- Difficulty seeing or focusing
- Losing part of the field of vision
- Flashes of light in the field of vision
- Spots (often called floaters) in the field of vision
- A dark spot appearing on the iris
- Inflammation or redness of the eyes
- Photophobia, oversensitivity to light
- Discomfort or pain in the eyes
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, contact your primary care physician or ophthalmologist right away so the cause can be diagnosed and treated promptly. Keep in mind that these symptoms may be the result of a condition other than eye cancer.
Diagnostic Tests for Eye Cancer
Your doctor will first examine your eyes closely using a lighted instrument called an ophthalmoscope to check for dark spots. Sometimes a thorough eye exam is all that is needed to diagnose eye cancer. In other cases, one or more of the following tests may be needed:
- Ultrasound uses sound waves to create a picture of the inside of the eyeball. After eye drops are used to numb the eye, a small wand is held against the eyeball to send out and receive sound waves. The waves create a picture called a sonogram, which the technician can see in real time on a computer screen.
- Fluorescein angiography uses a fluorescent dye to show the blood vessels in the eye. It is most often used to rule out eye problems other than cancer.
- Computed tomography (CT) scan uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of the eye.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a scanner that uses powerful magnets and pulses of radio wave energy to create pictures of the eye. A doctor may inject dye (contrast material) into the eye to help make it easier to see the differences in the tissues of the eye.