City ophthalmologists to raise awareness about eye cancer
DECCAN CHRONICLE | dc correspondent
HYDERABAD: Eye specialists will be raising awareness about the impact and precautions with regard to eye cancer to mark World Cancer Day, which is observed on February 4.
The fact is that awareness about eye cancer is so low that only a few are aware that cancer can also happen in the eyes. Eye cancer is a generic term used to explain many types of cancer or tumours that form in the tissues in and around the eye or in the exterior parts of the eye, such as the eyelid or conjunctiva (the thin-clear membrane that protects our eyes). It can occur in newborns, children and adults.
"Among all forms of cancers, the incidence of eye cancer is estimated to be low. But it can result in loss of life and vision. It is curable if the tumour is detected early. Spreading awareness will help in an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment of eye cancer," said Dr Swathi Kaliki, who works in a popular eye hospital here.
"Whenever we are treating a patient with eye cancer, there are three goals that we want to achieve — first, save the life; second, save the eye; and third, save the vision. Despite our best efforts to save the life in a significant percentage of patients, eye removal surgery is required. Generally, this is because the patient comes to us at an advanced stage. Eye cancer can also spread from one eye to the other eye or to other parts of the body if not treated appropriately," Dr Kaliki said.
Dr Kaliki said that certain eye cancers may be related to smoking, virus infection and excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. She said that they are unlikely to be related to food habits.
"Certain cancers can be inherited from family members who have been affected. While most eye cancers cannot be prevented, it is important for individuals with family history of eye cancer to undergo routine eye screening so that the disease can be detected early and treated appropriately. But those without any such family history, on coming to any swelling/lesion (lump) in the eyelids or on the surface of the eye or forward protrusion of the eyes or experience decreased vision, should go for an eye examination without delay," she added.
Different kinds of eye cancer:
· Eyelid tumours - arising on the eyelids or eyebrow region
· Conjunctival tumours - on the surface of the eye
· Corneal tumours - on the front surface of the eye
· Orbital tumours - occurring behind the eye and pushing the eye forward
· Intraocular tumours - occurring inside the eye in the region of the iris, retina and optic disc
· Bulging of the eye
· Swollen eyelids or a lump in the eyelid that is increasing in size
· Disproportion in the size of the two eyes
· White reflex in the eye
· Occurrence of a dark patch in the eye that is getting bigger in size
· Redness or pain
· Blurred vision or partial or total vision loss