Eye cancer is a universal term used to depict tumors that crop up in various parts of the eye. It occurs when cells in or just about the eye alter and nurture uncontrollably, forming a mass known as a tumor. A tumor may be benign (noncancerous) or malignant (cancerous, implying cells can multiply to other parts of the body). Tumor that forms in the eyeball is known as an intraocular malignancy.

Doctors who focus in the diseases and functions of the eye are known as ophthalmologists. These doctors can diagnose and take care of intraocular melanoma. Although eye cancer is rather unusual, many types of tumor can form in and around the eye. Tumors that have an effect on the eyeball are known intraocular cancers. Tumors that have their effect on the tissues surrounding the eyeball are known as orbital cancers. Tumors that build up in the eyelids and tear glands are known as adnexal cancers. The majority of eye cancers are secondary cancers, in the sense that they initiate somewhere else in the body and spread to the eye.

Intraocular melanoma is the most ordinary type of tumor that develops inside the eyeball in adults, but it is still rather uncommon. Melanomas of the skin are much more general than intraocular melanomas.

Melanomas build up from pigment-making cells known as melanocytes. When melanoma builds up in the eyeball, it is generally in the uvea, which is why these tumors are also known as uveal melanomas. About 9 out of 10 intraocular melanomas build up in the choroid (which is a fraction of the uvea). Choroid cells make the same sort of pigment as melanocytes in the skin, so it is not astonishing that these cells occasionally form melanomas.

People with light colored eyes, mainly those with blue eyes, are at an elevated risk for intraocular melanoma. Other threat factors are having an innate state identified as dysplastic nevus disease, which causes anomalous moles on the skin, or having irregular brown spots on the uvea. A number of people believe that there is a connection between sun exposure and intraocular melanoma possibility, but that relation is unverified. Having a weak immune system is the only recognized risk factor for main intraocular lymphoma.

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