Tumors of the Eye
, What is a melanoma?

Tumors can be found in almost all tissues within the eye, and can be difficult to diagnose.

Although rare, the most common malignant tumor in the eye is a melanoma which usually occurs in middle-aged or elderly patients.

A melanoma is a dark-pigmented tumor.  Often a melanoma can be malignant (life-threatening) and prone to spreading (metastasizing). Despite treatment, they can spread to other parts of the body.

What are the symptoms of a melanoma?

In the early stages of a melanoma, there may be no symptoms.  Detection often occurs during a routine eye examination by your optometrist or ophthalmologist. As the tumor increases in size, symptoms may develop. Decreased or blurred vision may result from the melanoma. Severe visual loss may occur from a secondary source, such as a retinal detachment, caused by the melanoma.

What are the treatment options for a melanoma?

Treatment options for a melanoma in the eye include observation, radiation treatment, laser treatment, and enucleation (removal of the eye). The choice of treatment is dependent on many different factors, including the size of the tumor, the age of the patient, the condition of the other eye, and the wishes of the patient.
Are there tumors other than a melanoma?

Besides melanoma, a very rare and genetically inherited tumor called a retinoblastoma can occur in young children. This most commonly occurs by the second or third year of life. It is very important to recognize this tumor early since this is essential for the survival of the child. With early diagnosis, 95% of patients are able to survive with this tumor.

What are the treatment options for a retinoblastoma?

Treatment options for retinoblastoma include radiation treatment, chemotherapy, a combination of radiation and chemotherapy, and enucleation.

Since this is a tumor that can occur in family members, examination and genetic counseling are essential parts of the treatment. These tumors are very rare, and treatment should be implemented by people who are experienced in the diagnosis and treatment of ocular tumors.

Photo of a melanoma
Photo of a retinoblastoma
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