Ocular Melanoma Fact Sheet THERE IS AN URGENT NEED TO INCREASE AWARENESS AND IMPROVE THE DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT OF OCULAR MELANOMA.
KNOW THE FACTS
• Ocular melanoma (OM), or melanoma of the eye, is the most common form of eye cancer in adults. • Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes (pigment cells) in the body.
• Risk factors for OM include light skin, light hair and light eyes. There is a slight male prevalence. • Symptoms of OM can include bulging eyes, change in color, poor vision, red/painful eyes, but some people have no noticeable symptoms. • Most OMs are diagnosed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist during a dilated eye exam. • Small and medium-sized tumors can be treated with radiation. Removal of the eye (enucleation) is often the best option for a large tumor. • OM metastasizes (spreads) in about half of all cases, most commonly to the liver. • Tumors in the eye are often more resistant to treatment than tumors on the skin once they have spread. • Before the primary tumor is treated, it is possible to have a biopsy to determine your risk of developing metastatic disease. • Currently, there is no known cure for metastatic OM. • Median survival after a metastatic OM diagnosis is 9 months – but treatments are being researched in clinical trials.
• Approximately 2,000 Americans are diagnosed with OM each year.
• Unlike cutaneous (skin) melanoma, ocular melanoma is not thought to be related to UV exposure. • OM makes up about 5% of all melanoma cases and is most commonly diagnosed around 55 years of age. • Melanoma of the eye includes uveal melanoma and conjunctival melanoma o The choroid is beneath the retina. o The iris is the front, colored part of the eye. o The ciliary body is in the back of the eye. • The conjunctiva is the clear covering of the white part of the eye. • OM does not discriminate based on age, gender, skin color or race. • The uvea is made up of three parts:
Last updated 8/13/19Page 1
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