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There are certain diseases known to attack the human body and result in permanent damage to one or more organs and body parts, especially if the disease is not promptly diagnosed and treated. One such disease is called ocular lymphoma. Also known as eye lymphoma, ocular lymphoma is a form of eye cancer. It is a very common type of eye tumour which is malignant (very harmful). It can cause permanent damage to the eyes and result in blindness.

Causes and risk factors of ocular lymphoma

While any individual can develop the disease, some specific factors put certain individuals at a higher risk of getting the disease. These factors include:-

  • Age (older people).
  • Individuals with certain health conditions that can affect their immune system. Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, AIDS e.t.c.
  • People taking post-surgical organ medications. These medications break down and weaken their immune system, exposing them to ocular lymphoma.

Types of Ocular Lymphoma

We can classify eye lymphoma into various types based on the severity of its effect on the person and the areas of the eyes being affected. They are grouped thus:

Primary intraocular lymphoma:

This type of lymphoma is malignant and usually affects the parts of the eye that make up the central nervous system, such as the vitreous (a jelly-like substance in the eye), the retina, and the optic nerve behind the eye. This kind of lymphoma can be very severe to the extent of spreading to the brain.

Uveal Lymphoma:

This lymphoma type affects the uvea, which is the middle of the eye that contains the Iris and other organs that supply blood to the eyes. It is a low-level lymphoma because it is not as severe and damaging as primary intraocular lymphoma.

Ocular adnexal Lymphoma:

Here, the lymphoma starts near and around the eyes instead of inside them. But they can spread and affect the eyelid, eye socket, lacrimal gland (the organ responsible for the production of tears) and the conjunctiva (the lining of the eyes).

Symptoms of Ocular Lymphoma

Usually, eye lymphomas start by affecting one eye, but as time goes on, both eyes eventually get affected. Most of the symptoms of eye lymphoma are like most eye conditions and they include: diminished or blurry vision, eye redness, bump in or around the eye, swollen eyelid, light sensitivity, eye irritation, eyes that appear uneven, seeing spots or floaters, dry eyes, yellowish eye discolouration, and a lumpy appearance in the eyes.

What to do if you experience any of the above-listed symptoms

We strongly recommend that you visit your eye care provider immediately if you experience the symptoms listed above or any other one that makes you uncomfortable. This is because most eye conditions have similar symptoms, so you can’t really tell which eye condition you have until it is diagnosed properly. Another reason to see your eye care provider is to enable prompt treatment of eye conditions. This will help to prevent eye damage or blindness.