Precancerous conditions of the eye
Precancerous conditions of the eye are changes to eye cells that make them more likely to develop into cancer. These conditions are not yet cancer. But if they aren’t treated, there is a chance that these abnormal changes may become eye cancer.
The most common precancerous conditions of the eye are:
- primary acquired melanosis (PAM)
- ocular melanocytosis
- conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia
Primary acquired melanosis (PAM) @(Model.HeadingTag)>
PAM is a condition of the conjunctiva – a clear
PAM is usually diagnosed by an eye care specialist. If you have signs of PAM you should have your eyes checked each year to look for changes. See your optometrist or ophthalmologist if you notice a change before your next appointment.
If your doctor suspects PAM, you may need to have a biopsy to remove some tissue from the abnormal area.
Treatment options for PAM may include:
- watchful waiting – regular eye exams to look for changes
- surgery to remove the abnormal area
- cryosurgery – uses extreme cold to freeze and destroy abnormal tissue
- chemotherapy drug put directly on the skin (topical chemotherapy) – mitomycin
Ocular melanocytosis @(Model.HeadingTag)>
People with ocular melanocytosis have a high number of melanocytes and extra melanin in and around the eyes. Ocular melanocytosis may develop into melanoma of the uvea (a layer in the wall of the eye), a type of intraocular melanoma or melanoma of the eye socket (orbital melanoma). Ocular melanocytosis also carries a risk of developing melanoma in the brain. Ocular melanocytosis is also called oculodermal melanocytosis or nevus of Ota when it affects the eyelid.
Ocular melanocytosis is diagnosed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist. You may also have
You may also see a neurologist, a doctor who specializes in conditions that affect the nervous system. They look for signs of cancer in the brain.
Most people with ocular melanocytosis don’t need treatment. But it’s important to go for regular medical and eye exams to look for changes that may suggest cancer.
Conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia @(Model.HeadingTag)>
Conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia develops when the cells of the conjunctiva change and become precancerous cells. This condition may be seen as a white or yellowish thickening on the surface of the eye. The eye may look red, somewhat like conjunctivitis (a condition commonly known as pink eye). Conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia may develop into squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva if it’s not treated.
Tests used to diagnose conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia may include:
- an eye exam
- an ultrasound
- a biopsy
Treatment options for conjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia include:
- surgery with or without cryosurgery
- topical chemotherapy with mitomycin C or 5-fluorouracil (Efudex, 5-FU)
immunotherapywith interferon alfa-2b (Intron A)
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Eye Cancer Network. Pigmented Conjunctival Tumors (Primary Acquired Melanosis). 2016: http://www.eyecancer.com/conditions/23/pigmented-conjunctival-tumors-primary-acquired-melanosis.
Eye Cancer Network. Nevus of Ota. 2016: http://www.eyecancer.com/conditions/7/the-nevus-of-ota.
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Huerva V, Ascaso FJ . Congjunctival intraepithelial neoplasia – Clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment possibilities. Srivastava S (Ed.). Intraepithelial Neoplasia. InTech; 2012: http://cdn.intechweb.org/pdfs/27762.pdf.
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Clinical Practice Guidelines: Ocular Oncology - Conjunctival Malignancy. 2015: http://www.uhn.ca/PrincessMargaret/Health_Professionals/Programs_Departments/Central_Nervous_System_Eye/Documents/CPG_Ocular_ConjunctivalMalignancy.pdf.