Very little is known about the causes of eye cancer. There is no definitive research linking exposure to UV light to increased risk for uveal melanoma. Studies of the incidence of uveal melanoma in Europe show that latitude is not a factor in uveal melanoma. This is in contrast with cutaneous melanoma (skin cancer), for which the main cause is exposure to UV radiation from the sun, or sunbeds.
Uveal melanoma develops in the blood-rich layers in the eye. You may have an existing nevus (like a mole in the eye) which may turn malignant, however, this is very unusual. The vast majority of nevi remain benign.
There are certain risk factors for uveal melanoma that are often cited – such as light eye colour, Caucasian ethnicity and age. However, these are of little use to doctors and optometrists as they are only weakly predictive, and uveal melanoma is so rare.