Can eye cancer be found early?
Eye cancer is uncommon, and there is no widely recommended screening test for this cancer in people at average risk. (Screening is testing for a disease like cancer in people without any symptoms.) Still, in some cases eye cancer can be found early. Some doctors may recommend yearly eye exams for those who may be at higher risk of eye melanoma, such as people with dysplastic nevus syndrome.
People who notice a dark spot on their iris (colored part of the eye) should have a doctor look at it, especially if it is getting bigger.
Regular eye exams are an important part of everyone's health care, even if they have no symptoms. Often melanomas of the eye are found during a routine eye exam. When the doctor looks through the pupil at the back of the eye, he or she may be able to see a dark spot that may be an early melanoma.
Many doctors feel that most melanomas start from a nevus (mole), which is a benign (non-cancerous) tumor of pigment cells. If an eye nevus is present, it should be looked at regularly by an ophthalmologist (a doctor who specializes in eye diseases).
Last Medical Review: 06/27/2011
Last Revised: 01/18/2013