It is not clear why eye melanomas develop. Researchers have discovered that certain gene mutations are more commonly found in patients who have melanoma, suggesting that there is a strong genetic component to the disease.
Ocular melanoma occurs when the DNA of healthy eye cells develop errors that cause the cells to multiply out of control. The mutated cells collect in the eye and form a melanoma.
Certain factors may increase your risk for developing melanoma. These include:
- Being exposed to natural sunlight or artificial sunlight (such as from tanning beds) over long periods of time;
- Having light-colored eyes (blue or green eyes);
- Older age;
- Caucasian descent;
- Having certain inherited skin conditions, such as dysplastic nevus syndrome, that cause abnormal moles; and
- Having abnormal skin pigmentation involving the eyelids and increased pigmentation on the uvea.
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