Eye Cancer: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 08/2015

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about body changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. To see other pages, use the menu on the side of your screen.

People with intraocular melanoma often have no symptoms. Many times, an ophthalmologist finds the melanoma during a regular eye examination. The most common symptom is painless loss of vision.

People with eye cancer may experience the following symptoms or signs. Sometimes people with eye cancer do not show any of these symptoms. Or, these symptoms may be caused by a medical condition that is not cancer.

  • Having trouble seeing

  • Losing part of the field of vision

  • Seeing flashes of light

  • Seeing spots, squiggly lines, or floating objects (floaters)

  • Having a dark spot on the iris. Unlike choroidal and ciliary body melanoma, iris melanoma can sometimes be seen because it looks like dark spots on the eye.

If you are concerned about one or more of the symptoms or signs on this list, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you’ve been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help find out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. This may also be called symptom management, palliative care, or supportive care. Be sure to talk with your health care team about symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis and it explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Or, use the menu on the side of your screen to choose another section to continue reading this guide.