Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of Ophthalmic Tumors

A mutation in one of the cells in, on, or around your eye can cause ophthalmic cancer (eye cancer). Cancer that starts in another part of your body can also spread (or metastasize) to your eyes.

Diagnosing Ophthalmic Tumors

Your physician may be able to detect a tumor during a regular eye exam. Further testing may include:

  • Pupil dilation: Eye drops will cause your pupil to widen, allowing your physician to examine your eye’s lens and retina.
  • Ophthalmoscopy: A physician will look very closely at your retina and optic disk using a special magnifying glass.
  • Fluorescein or Indocyanine green angiography: A special dye is injected into a vein in your arm, and pictures are taken as the dye passes through the blood vessels in the back of the eye. The dye helps your physician see the pattern of the blood vessels.
  • Color fundus photography: Photographs of the fundus (back of your eye) are taken before and after treatment, through dilated pupils.
  • Ocular ultrasound: To measure the size and location of the tumor.
  • Imaging tests: An MRI, CT scan or ultrasound may be necessary if your physician wants to rule out the possibility of brain lesions or a tumor.
  • Blood tests and bone marrow tests: These tests can determine if the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.
  • Biopsies: Your care team will remove a piece of tissue or a sample of cells to help determine the type of cancer.