Objective Uveal melanoma is a rare disease with poor prognosis and largely unknown etiology. We studied potential occupational risk factors. Methods A population based case-control study was undertaken during 1995–1997 in nine European countries using population and colon cancer controls with personal interviews. Occupational exposure to sunlight and artificial UV radiation was assessed with a job exposure matrix. In total, 320 uveal melanoma cases were eligible at pathology review, and 292 cases were interviewed, participation 91%. Out of 3357 population controls, 2062 were interviewed, 61%, and out of 1272 cancer controls 1094 were interviewed, 86%. Results Using population controls, occupational exposure to sunlight was not associated with an increased risk (RR=1.24, 95% CI=0.88-1.74), while an excess risk found with use of colon cancer controls was attributed to confounding factors. An excess risk in welders was restricted to the French part of the data. Cooks, RR=2.40; cleaners, RR 2.15; and laundry workers, RR=3.14, were at increased risk of uveal melanoma. Conclusion Our study does overall not support an association between occupational sunlight exposure and risk of uveal melanoma. The finding of an excess risk of eye melanoma in cooks in several European countries is intriguing.