Types of uveal melanoma
Uveal melanoma is sometimes named by where it is located in the eye:
- Choroidal melanoma – This occurs in the blood vessels at the back of your eye. It is the most common form of uveal melanoma
- Ciliary melanoma – This occurs in the ring of muscle fibres behind your iris that help the lens change shape for eye focus
- Iris melanoma – This occurs in the iris – the area at the front of your eye that gives you your eye colour. It accounts for only 5% of all uveal melanomas and is often smaller and less likely to spread than the other forms
NB: Conjunctival melanoma is cancer that starts in the outer layer (conjunctiva) of the eye. It has more in common with skin melanoma and is not an uveal melanoma, and not covered here.
What are the causes?
The causes of uveal melanoma remain largely unknown. Unlike other types of melanoma, it is NOT linked with harmful sun exposure (some research links it to iris melanoma). However, there have been certain factors shown to could increase your risk. These include having fair skin or a lighter complexion, having blue, green or other light coloured eyes and being older. In some rare cases, there is a faulty gene inherited which may be linked to several types of cancer in the family.