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Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma Treatment (PDQ®): Treatment - Patient Information [NCI] - General Information About Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma


Glaucoma may develop if the tumor causes the retina to separate from the eye. If this happens, there may be no symptoms, or symptoms may include the following:

Tests that examine the eye are used to help detect (find) and diagnose intraocular melanoma.

The following tests and procedures may be used:

  • Eye exam with dilated pupil: An examination of the eye in which the pupil is dilated (enlarged) with medicated eyedrops to allow the doctor to look through the lens and pupil to the retina. The inside of the eye, including the retina and the optic nerve, is examined using an instrument that produces a narrow beam of light. This is sometimes called a slit-lamp exam. The doctor may take pictures over time to keep track of changes in the size of the tumor and how fast it is growing.
  • Indirect ophthalmoscopy: An examination of the inside of the back of the eye using a small magnifying lens and a light.
  • Ultrasound exam of the eye: A procedure in which high-energy sound waves (ultrasound) are bounced off the internal tissues of the eye to make echoes. Eye drops are used to numb the eye and a small probe that sends and receives sound waves is placed gently on the surface of the eye. The echoes make a picture of the inside of the eye. The picture, called a sonogram, shows on the screen of the ultrasound monitor.
  • Transillumination of the globe and iris: An examination of the iris, cornea, lens, and ciliary body with a light placed on either the upper or lower lid.
  • Fluorescein angiography: A procedure to look at blood vessels and the flow of blood inside the eye. An orange fluorescent dye (fluorescein) is injected into a blood vessel in the arm. As the dye travels through blood vessels of the eye, a special camera takes pictures of the retina and choroid to detect any blockage or leakage.

Certain factors affect prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options.

The prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:

  • The type of melanoma cells (how they look under a microscope).
  • The size of the tumor.
  • Which part of the eye the tumor is in (the iris, ciliary body, or choroid).
  • Whether the tumor has spread within the eye or to other places in the body.
  • The patient's age and general health.
  • Whether the tumor has recurred (come back) after treatment.

In patients with small tumors that have not spread, intraocular melanoma can be cured and vision can usually be saved.


WebMD Public Information from the National Cancer Institute

Last Updated: February 25, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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