Research conducted at the University of Manchester has found that ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause conjunctival melanoma.

The study, which was published in Nature Communications, explored the unknown role of UV radiation in the development of melanoma in the eye.

It revealed ‘strikingly similar’ genetic changes in conjunctival melanoma to that of cutaneous (skin) melanoma caused by UV radiation.

Researchers suggested that treatments used for skin melanoma could also benefit people with this type of eye cancer based on the genetics of the tumour.

Professor Richard Marais, lead author of the study, said: ‘Our work shows the importance of delving into the underlying biology in rare cancers, which could identify new tailored treatment avenues for people. In this case we have identified mutations in a rare type of eye cancer that could be targeted by drugs used to treat skin cancer.’

He added that the study furthered the understanding of the known dangers of the sun on eyes and highlighted the importance of protecting our skin and eyes from UV light.