Ocular Melanoma: The Signs, Symptoms, and Solutions

ocular melOcular melanoma is a DNA mutation of the eye’s pigment cells causing them to multiply and collect within the eye.  While this is the most common type of eye cancer found in adults, it is still very rare.  Only a small number of factors have been linked to an increased risk of ocular melanoma;  these include prolonged exposure to natural and artificial sunlight, having light-colored eyes, and genetically inherited abnormal skin pigmentations.

Unfortunately the warning signs of an early stage ocular melanoma can be almost impossible to detect because they form in the middle of the three eye layers.  The middle, or uveal, layer is mostly composed of the blood vessel network that supplies the eye.  Like the innermost retinal layer, the uveal layer is not visible without special equipment.  That is why it is vitally important that you have a yearly dilated eye exam performed by an ophthalmologist in which the uveal eye layer is carefully examined.  Early detection is paramount in successfully treating any form of cancer and ocular melanoma is no different.  If the melanoma is small, and asymptomatic upon detection, your ophthalmologist might decide to prolong treatment and monitor any changes.  If the melanoma is discovered at a considerable size, your doctor will most likely suggest radiation therapy or surgical removal of the affected area.

If you are scheduled to have enucleation surgery to remove an ocular melanoma tumor there is hope for cosmetic restoration following surgery.  With a custom fit and fabricated prosthetic eye, you can confidently take back your image and your life.  If you would like to speak with a board certified ocularist today about prosthetic eye services, please contact one of our five Southern California office locations:  Los Angeles, Encino, Orange, Torrance, and Santa Barbara.  We look forward to serving you!