Ocular Surface Tumours

Ocular Surface Tumour in patient’s eye.

Whilst the eye does not develop ‘sunburn’ like your skin, it can still be damaged by UV radiation.  This can lead to tumours on the surface of the eye. The medical term for this is called ‘Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia.’ Thankfully, most of these tumours are detected in the very early stages so many are akin to a ‘sunspot’ on the skin & can be treated very effectively. 

Treatment depends on the size and nature of the lesion. Some larger lesions require excision, however many can be treated with drops. There are 2 types of drops used. Interferon a 2b is a specially compounded medication that is used 4 times per day for a number of months. It is very gentle on the eye and extremely effective at eradicating the disease. Mitomycin C is a chemotherapy drug that is used 4 times per day for 1 week. Sometime this needs to be repeated.  MMC is much more irritating to the eye than interferon but some patients find the shorter treatment time easier to comply with. Even if a lesion is excised surgically drops are generally used afterwards to reduce the risk of the lesion recurring. 

Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia is a preventable disease! Protecting your eyes from UV radiation with high quality UV blocking sunglasses (not cheap non-UV blocking glasses from the internet) helps to stop eye diseases that are caused by the sun. Much of the damage that causes these diseases occurs before the age of 10, so ensure that your children and grandchildren wear sunglasses as well.