Canadian Cancer Society logo

Eye cancer

You are here: 

Signs and symptoms of eye cancer

A sign is something that can be observed and recognized by a doctor or healthcare professional (for example, a rash). A symptom is something that only the person experiencing it can feel and know (for example, pain or tiredness). Eye cancer may not cause any signs or symptoms in its early stages. It is often discovered during a routine eye examination. Symptoms appear once the tumour grows into surrounding tissues.

The signs and symptoms of eye cancer can also be caused by other health conditions. It is important to have any unusual symptoms checked by a doctor.

Signs and symptoms of eye cancer include:

  • a change in vision
    • blurred vision
    • decreased vision or loss of visual field (loss of a portion of the field of vision – the total area that can be seen at one time)
  • seeing flashes of light or shadows
  • seeing floaters (spots or squiggly lines)
  • a dark spot on the iris (coloured part of the eye)
  • a change in the size or shape of the pupil (the black-looking round opening in the centre of the iris)

Eye cancers usually don’t cause any pain.

Late signs and symptoms

Late signs and symptoms occur as the cancer grows larger or spreads to other parts of the body, including other organs.

  • redness and inflammation of the eye
  • a change in eye movement
  • a change in position of the eyeball – with orbital tumours
  • eye pain – rare


Kim Moreau Help Whip Cancer has made such a difference in the lives of so many women.

Read Kim's story

Facing the financial burden of cancer

Illustration of coins

The Canadian Cancer Society provides helpful information about government income programs, financial resources and other resources available to families struggling to make sense of the personal financial burden they face.

Learn more