Key Statistics for Eye Cancer

The American Cancer Society’s estimates for eye cancer in the United States for 2019 are:

  • 3,360 new cancers (mainly melanomas) of the eye and orbit: 1,860 in men and 1,500 in women
  • 370 deaths from cancers of the eye and orbit: 200 in men and 170 in women

Primary eye cancers can occur at any age, but the risk for most types increases as people get older. The rate of uveal melanomas has been fairly stable over the past few decades, but the rate of conjunctival melanomas has increased. Cancers that spread to the eye from another part of the body (secondary eye cancers) are actually more common than primary eye cancers.

Most cancers of the eye and orbit in adults are melanomas, but this cancer starts more often in other parts of the body. More than 9 out of 10 melanomas start in the skin.

Melanoma of the eye is much more common in whites than blacks, and is slightly more common in men than women. 

For statistics on survival, see Eye Cancer Survival Rates.

Visit the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Statistics Center for more key statistics.

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

American Cancer Society. Cancer Facts & Figures 2019. Atlanta, Ga: American Cancer Society; 2019.  

Last Medical Review: November 30, 2018 Last Revised: January 8, 2019

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