Intraocular melanoma is a rare cancer that develops from cells that produce melanin in the iris, ciliary body, and choroid.
It is the most commonly occurring form of eye cancer in adults. It begins in the middle of the three layers of the wall of the eye. The middle layer (where intraocular melanoma develops) is known as the uvea or uveal tract. It has three primary parts: the iris, ciliary body, and choroid.
Khan Eyelid and Facial Aesthetics, led by board certified ophthalmologist Dr. Tanya Khan, provides safe and proven eye care procedures to patients in Austin, Dallas, Texas, and surrounding locations.
Risk Factors for Intraocular Melanoma
Having a lighter complexion, including:
- Fair skin that burns and freckles easily, does not tan, or tans poorly
- Green, blue, or other light-colored eyes
- Older age
- Being caucasian
Some aspects will impact the prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment solutions. The treatment options will depend on:
- How the melanoma cells appear under a microscope
- The thickness and size of the tumor
- The area of the eye that the tumor is located in (the iris, ciliary body, or choroid)
- Whether the tumor has spread inside the eye or to other areas in the body
- Whether there are specific changes in the genes linked to intraocular melanoma
- The age and overall health of the patient
- Whether the tumor has recurred following treatment
Overview of Treatment Options
There are various types of treatments for patients with intraocular melanoma. The five types of standard treatments that are used are:
- Watchful waiting
- Radiation therapy
New treatment techniques are being assessed in clinical trials. Patients should note that these new treatments for intraocular (uveal) melanoma may lead to side effects. Depending on their condition, patients may want to consider taking part in a clinical trial.
Patients can enter clinical trials prior to, during, or after beginning their cancer treatment. Follow up tests may be required in some cases.
Surgery is the most common treatment for intraocular melanoma. The following types of surgery may be used:
- Resection: Surgery to eliminate the tumor as well as a small amount of normal tissue surrounding it,
- Enucleation: Surgery to remove the eye and a portion of the optic nerve. This is undertaken if vision cannot be saved, and the tumor is large, has spread to the optic nerve, or leads to high pressure within the eye. Following surgery, the patient is often fitted with an artificial eye to match the color and size of the other eye.
- Exenteration: Surgery to remove the eyelid and eye as well as the nerves, muscles, and fat in the eye socket. Following surgery, the patient may be fitted with an artificial eye to match the color and size of the other eye or a facial prosthesis.
Radiation therapy refers to a cancer treatment that uses high-energy x-rays or other forms of radiation to eliminate cancer cells or prevent them from growing.
In photocoagulation, laser light is used to destruct blood vessels that supply nutrients to the tumor, causing the tumor cells to die. Photocoagulation may be used in the treatment of small tumors. It is also known as light coagulation.
Thermotherapy refers to the use of heat from a laser to destruct cancer cells and shrink the tumor. Oculoplastic & reconstructive surgeon Dr. Tanya Khan receives patients from Austin, Dallas, Texas, and nearby areas for advanced eye care procedures.
Offices in Dallas and Austin, Texas.