We see a lot of information about skin cancer and measures we should take to prevent it, but few people realize this disease can impact their eyes.
A Fox News article featuring Dr. Finger highlights melanoma of the conjunctiva, the delicate tissue covering the insides of the eyelids. This is the same area affected by conjunctivitis, better known as pink eye. Tumors in and around the eyes are more dangerous because they tend to resist treatment more than melanomas on the skin. Dr. Finger emphasized the importance of early detection, recommending a full eye exam every one to two years. He points out some ocular cancers have visible symptoms a doctor can detect, just like skin cancer:
“Basil cells tend to be sort of roundish. They have a dimple on the top. They can make your eyelashes fall out. Squamous cell carcinomas are flaky. They have a flaky crust often times. But melanomas tend to be pigmented. So they’ll see a pigmented spot. The brown spots are particularly dangerous.”
Finger diagnosed John McPartland, 60, with conjunctival melanoma after he discovered an odd looking freckle on his eyelid.
“I just thought I should check it out and see if it is anything, and fortunately I did… As far as I’m concerned, he (Finger) saved my life.”
About 2,400 patients are diagnosed with melanoma of the conjunctiva every year. The sun’s UV rays are the culprit. As a result, the best way to prevent getting occular cancer is to wear sunglasses. Dr. Finger says, “Think of sunglasses as sunblock for your eyes.”™
Read the full Fox News story for more information about cancers of the eye and how to prevent them HERE.