Diagnosing Ocular Melanoma Ocular melanoma is most often detected by an optometrist or an ophthalmologist during a dilated eye exam. Often, OM is asymptomatic until the tumor grows large enough to create visual disturbances. Iris and conjunctival melanoma may sometimes be diagnosed by external — from the outside — examination. Detection of choroidal or ciliary melanoma requires a thorough dilated eye exam. After an OM diagnosis, your doctor will take an x-ray, MRI, CT scan and/or PET scan to check the body for signs of cancer beyond the eye. Unlike cutaneous melanoma, a biopsy is not usually taken to diagnose OM. Rather, OM tends to be a clinical diagnosis — meaning it is often made based on signs and symptoms.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
> Educate yourself and loved ones about your diagnosis. > Find a support system. Family, friends, strangers, in-person, online, phone support — choose one (or more) that is best for you. > Ocular melanoma survival statistics describe a group of similar patients…but they may have nothing to do with your individual chance of survival. > Every patient is different. There is no “blanket” treatment plan. > It is important to be an active participant in your treatment. Seek out an OM specialist. Be your own advocate.
CILIARY BODY Melanoma
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