Ocular melanoma (melanoma in or around the eye) is a type of cancer that develops in the cells that produce pigment. Pigment is the substance that gives color to your skin, hair and eyes. Just as you can develop melanoma on your skin, you can also develop it inside your eye or on your conjunctiva. Although it is the most common eye cancer in adults, ocular melanoma is very rare.
Ocular melanomas usually begin in the middle of the three layers of your eye. The outer layer of your eye is the sclera. The innermost layer is the retina. The middle layer between the sclera and retina is called the uvea.
Rarely, eye melanoma can also occur on the conjunctiva.
Because most eye melanomas form in the part of the eye you can’t see when looking in a mirror, they can be difficult to detect. Also, eye melanoma typically doesn’t cause early signs or symptoms. That's why it is so important to see your ophthalmologist regularly.