Risk factors influence the chance of developing cancer among individuals, but individuals with no risk factors also develop cancer. Some of the common risk factors that develop the risk of eye cancer include gender (both men and women), age (average age of diagnosis is 55), race (more common in white people than black people), eye color, personal history, Dysplastic nevus syndrome, Oculodermal or Ocular melanocytosis, pigmentation of the eye or skin around the eye, Nevi or spots like moles in the eye, and family history. Other risk factors include sun exposure, skin melanoma, and particular occupations.
Risk factors Associated with Eye Cancer
A risk factor can be anything that influences the development of any cancer. But having a risk factors, or many does not give certainty of having particular cancer. Some people with no risk factors can also develop eye cancer.
The factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing eye cancer 1:
- Gender – Intraocular melanoma affects around equal numbers of men and women.
- Race – Primary intraocular melanoma is more common in white people than black people.
- Age – People over age 50 are more likely to be diagnosed with primary intraocular melanoma. The average age of diagnosis is 55. It is rare in people over the age of 70 and in children.
- Eye colour – People with light-coloured eyes are more likely to develop uveal melanoma of the eye than people with darker eyes and skin colour.
- Personal history – People with the following medical conditions have a higher risk of developing primary intraocular melanoma:
- Dysplastic nevus syndrome is marked by multiple flat moles that are irregular in shape or colour.
- Oculodermal or Ocular melanocytosis, pigmentation of the eye or skin around the eye, is also called the nevus of Ota.
- Nevi or spots like moles in the eye
- Family history – Intraocular melanoma can run in families, although rare. Usually, it is because of a mutation or change in a gene known as BAP1, which is mainly associated with metastatic uveal eye cancer. This gene change is seen in other types of cancer, such as kidney cancer and mesothelioma.
Other unproven factors 2:
- Sun exposure – Too much exposure to sunlight (or sunlamps), a known risk factor for skin melanoma, has also been assumed as a possible risk factor for conjunctival or uveal melanoma of the eye, but studies have shown mixed results. More research is needed to answer this question.
- Skin melanoma – Some patients with uveal eye melanoma have a history of skin melanoma, but it is still unknown if it increases your risk of eye melanoma.
- Particular occupations – Few studies have suggested that welders have a higher risk of uveal eye melanoma, but more studies are being done.
- 1.Rishi P, Koundanya V, Shields C. Using risk factors for detection and prognostication of uveal melanoma. Indian J Ophthalmol. Published online 2015:110. doi:10.4103/0301-4738.154373
- 2.LUTZ JM, CREE IA, FOSS AJ. Risk factors for intraocular melanoma and occupational exposure. British Journal of Ophthalmology. Published online October 1, 1999:1190-1193. doi:10.1136/bjo.83.10.1190