Eye Melanoma: Symptoms and Signs

Approved by the Cancer.Net Editorial Board, 01/2023

ON THIS PAGE: You will find out more about changes and other things that can signal a problem that may need medical care. Use the menu to see other pages.

People with eye melanoma may experience the following symptoms or signs. Symptoms are changes that you can feel in your body. Signs are changes in something measured, like by taking your blood pressure or doing a lab test. Together, symptoms and signs can help describe a medical problem. However, many people do not experience any of these changes when they are diagnosed with eye melanoma. Or, the cause of a symptom or sign may be a different medical condition that is not cancer. Many times, an ophthalmologist finds eye melanoma during a routine eye examination.

Symptoms of uveal melanoma can include:

  • Complete or partial loss of vision

  • Blurred vision or double vision

  • Seeing floating spots, squiggly lines, or flashes of light

  • Change in the size or shape of the pupil (the dark circle in the center of the iris)

  • Change in how the eyeball is positioned or moves in the eye socket

  • Eye soreness or, in rare cases, pain

  • Bulging of the eye

  • Redness of the eye

  • A dark spot growing on the iris. Unlike choroidal and ciliary body melanomas, iris melanoma can sometimes be seen without looking inside the eye.

The most common symptom of conjunctival melanoma is a pigmented spot or lump. The lump is typically visible for conjunctival melanoma without looking inside the eye. However, the doctor will need to look into the eye for ciliary body or choroidal melanoma. Rarely, irritation and pain may occur.

If you are concerned about any changes you experience, please talk with your doctor. Your doctor will ask how long and how often you have been experiencing the symptom(s), in addition to other questions. This is to help figure out the cause of the problem, called a diagnosis.

If cancer is diagnosed, relieving symptoms remains an important part of cancer care and treatment. Managing symptoms may also be called “palliative care” or “supportive care.” It is often started soon after diagnosis and continued throughout treatment. Be sure to talk with your health care team about the symptoms you experience, including any new symptoms or a change in symptoms.

The next section in this guide is Diagnosis. It explains what tests may be needed to learn more about the cause of the symptoms. Use the menu to choose a different section to read in this guide.