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Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma Treatment

General Information About Intraocular (Eye) Melanoma

Intraocular melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the eye.

Intraocular melanoma begins in the middle of 3 layers of the wall of the eye. The outer layer includes the white sclera (the "white of the eye") and the clear cornea at the front of the eye. The inner layer has a lining of nerve tissue, called the retina, which senses light and sends images along the optic nerve to the brain.

The middle layer, where intraocular melanoma forms, is called the uvea or uveal tract, and has 3 main parts:


Anatomy of the eye, showing the outside and inside of the eye including the sclera, cornea, iris, ciliary body, choroid, retina, vitreous humor, and optic nerve. The vitreous humor is a liquid that fills the center of the eye.
Anatomy of the eye, showing the outside and inside of the eye including the sclera, cornea, iris, ciliary body, choroid, retina, vitreous humor, and optic nerve. The vitreous humor is a liquid that fills the center of the eye.

Intraocular melanoma is a rare cancer, but it is the most common eye cancer in adults.

Age and sun exposure may increase the risk of developing intraocular melanoma.

Anything that increases your risk of getting a disease is called a risk factor. Having a risk factor does not mean that you will get cancer; not having risk factors doesn’t mean that you will not get cancer. People who think they may be at risk should discuss this with their doctor. Risk factors for intraocular melanoma include the following:

Possible signs of intraocular melanoma include a dark spot on the iris or blurred vision.

Intraocular melanoma may not cause any early symptoms. It is sometimes found during a routine eye exam when the doctor dilates the pupil and looks into the eye. The following symptoms may be caused by intraocular melanoma or by other conditions. A doctor should be consulted if any of these problems occur:

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:

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

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

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