Ocular Melanoma Causes
It is not clear why eye melanomas develop. We do know that people born with certain growths in or on the eye (nevi or moles), as well as those with lighter colored eyes, are at a greater risk for developing ocular melanoma.
Ocular melanoma occurs when the DNA of the pigment cells of the eye develop errors. These errors cause the cells to multiply out of control. The mutated cells collect in or on the eye and form a melanoma.
Certain factors increase your risk for developing melanoma. These include:
- exposure to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time may cause a melanoma on the surface of the eye (conjunctival melanoma)
- having light-colored eyes (blue or green eyes)
- older age
- Caucasian descent
- having certain inherited skin conditions, such as dysplastic nevus syndrome, which cause abnormal moles
- having abnormal skin pigmentation involving the eyelids and increased pigmentation on the uvea; and
- having a mole in the eye or on the eye's surface