According to 2019 estimates from the American Cancer Society, there were nearly 3,360 new cancers and 370 deaths from cancers of the eye. Although cancers of the eye are uncommon, if left untreated they can eventually result in blindness. Fortunately, a newly recognized active substance could help guard against eye tumors.

Some Background on Eye Cancers

Eye cancer refers to any cancer that starts in the eye. There are three main types of cancers in the eye: intraocular, orbital and adnexal.

  • Intraocular cancers affect the eye itself; the most common intraocular cancers found in adults being melanoma and lymphoma.
  • Orbital cancers occur in the tissues surrounding the eyeball, including the muscles and nerves that help the eyeball move.
  • Adnexal cancers are developed in accessorial structures to the eye such as the eyelids and tear glands.

Cancers found in the orbit and adnexa first form in various tissues around the eyeball such as muscle, nerve, and skin and act like cancers in other parts of the body. Primary eye cancer can occur at any age, though the risk increases with age. Common symptoms of eye cancer include blurred or loss of vision, dark shadows and or flashes of light in the visual field. Less common symptoms include lumps in various areas of the eye anatomy, or pain in or around the eye.

Eye Cancer Treatment

Treatment for eye cancer depends on the type and stage of cancer present. Other considerations include the exact location of the cancerous growth, patient age, overall health, and the likelihood that treatment will result in remission. Currently, radiation therapy is the primary choice of treatment form most people, though research on eye cancer has increasingly been conducted to find alternative treatment solutions.

New Findings

German scientists believe a substance found in the popular coralberry plant can help slow down the progression of aggressive eye cancers. The coralberry originates in Korea and its bright red fruit has traditionally been associated with seasonal festivities, much the same as holly berries are associated in the West with the celebration of Christmas. The leaves contain bacteria that function as a natural insecticide called FR900359 (FR) whose application to eye cancers is only now being recognized. Though coralberry has been the focus of asthma treatment studies, researchers in Germany and their colleagues in the United States believe they have found a new use for the substance.

Although survival rates for eye cancer are generally high, these rates can significantly drop if tumors metastasize to other parts of the body so routine eye screens to ensure early detection and treatment are imperative. At Eyecare 20/20, we’re committed to delivering the most comprehensive, advanced, and friendliest eyecare in New Jersey. From routine vision screening, to LASIK vision correction, to treatment for serious eye conditions, we’re happy to be your go-to vision health provider. Reach out to us today and we’ll help you see a clearer future!

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