Shining a light on eyelid cancer

HOUSTON – This time of year, many are now spending more time out in the sun and for some -- not wearing the proper shades. You could be setting yourself up for danger.

Many people like Mary Wells lather on the lotion, spray on the SPF -- but are you protecting your eyes?

“I did a lot of tanning beds and sun exposure, everything you're not supposed to do,” she said.

Wells was a sun worshipper at a young age and it was only a matter of time before skin cancer struck.

“It was really just a line that looked like a line of dots, very close to my lower lash line,” Wells said. “It looked more like a rash or something.”

In 2010, Wells was diagnosed with skin cancer on her eyelid, needed surgery to remove it and reconstructive surgery to protect her vision.

Studies show up to 10-15 of all skin cancers occur in the eyelids

Ophthalmologist, Doctor Mirwat Sami specializes in removing cancers and reconstructing the eyelid.

“It's not just the aesthetics only, its protection of the vision itself,” Sami said.

The good news is - reconstructive surgery leaves patients with few signs of the cancer.

“Most people don't notice it unless I point it out,” Sami said.

Christopher Cragin also had cancer removed after years of surfing and playing soccer left him exposed.

“You should have a little thought before you go out and enjoy the sun and there's nothing wrong with doing that as long as you're protecting yourself,” Cragin said.

Mirwat said the key prevention is protection; Start with a hat and sunglasses.

And it's important to begin these practices at a young age. Children need a hat and UVA-UVB sunglasses when they go outdoors.