Treatments for Ocular Melanoma

Retina Associates pic

Retina Associates
Image: retinatucson.com

Retina Associates, located in Tucson, Arizona, is nationally known for its ocular oncology program. With one the largest eye cancer program in the southwest United States, Dr. Cameron Javid and associates frequently diagnose and treat eye cancers and were invited to participate in the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study. Current studies are available for ocular melanoma with metastatic spread.

Ocular melanoma is a very rare and aggressive form of cancer that affects about 2,000 Americans each year. This slowly developing cancer involves portions of the uveal tract in the eye. Though melanoma of the skin is often caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays, the exact cause of ocular melanoma is unknown.

The Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study has widely influenced the treatment of ocular cancer. Common approaches involve diligent monitoring, radiation, and surgery.

If a tumor is small, ophthalmologists can opt to monitor the tumor’s growth. If growth is detected or symptoms increase, treatment may be utilized at that time. Biopsy of the tumor is performed for gene expression profiling which gives accurate information regarding the chance of metastatic spread in the future and provides a guideline on how frequent monitoring should occur for the liver and lung.

Radiation can also be used to treat ocular melanoma. The most common type of radiation is brachytherapy, or plaque therapy. The treatment involves attaching a small disk, or plaque, on the surface of the eye. The plaque contains I-125 radiation and is worn for several days.
Proton beam radiation may be an option as well.

Surgical treatments may be necessary. These treatments may removal of the eye in advanced cases with large tumors.

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An Introduction to Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy pic

Diabetic Retinopathy
Image: retinatucson.com

Since 1974, Retina Associates has provided specialized care for patients in Tucson and southern Arizona. Dr. Cameron Javid and the team at Retina Associates have welcomed numerous individuals with diabetic retinopathy, one of the most common conditions that the practice treats.

Diabetic retinopathy occurs when an excess of sugar in the blood causes damage to the blood vessels in the retina. In the early stage of the disease, known as background or nonproliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR), these damaged blood vessels may begin to leak into the retinal tissue.

NPDR is often mild and typically asymptomatic, though it may lead to the closing of capillaries in the retina and a subsequent blurring of vision. Patients may also experience a swelling of the macula, a small region at the center of the retina that is responsible for central and precise vision. Swelling in this region stands out as the most frequent cause of vision loss in patients with diabetes.

Some patients with diabetic retinopathy develop the proliferative form of the disease, which manifests with retinal blood vessels closing and impeding blood flow. Although the retina does then respond by creating new blood vessels, these vessels are structurally abnormal and do not allow for sufficient blood flow.

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) can lead to more severe loss of vision as compared to NPDR. Patients can develop a retinal detachment or a neovascular glaucoma, the latter of which occurs when new blood vessels grow in the iris and block the flow of fluid from the eye. As a result, pressure builds up in the eye and leads to damage of the optic nerve.

Patients with PDR are also at risk of vitreous hemorrhage, or the leaking of blood into the vitreous gel located in the central portion of the eye. This leakage blocks light rays from reaching the retina and causes varying degrees of vision loss. Vision often returns when the leakage clears, though the loss may be permanent if macular damage is present. Therefore, it’s extremely important for all diabetics to obtain regular exams of their retina.

A Brief Overview of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic Retinopathy pic

Diabetic Retinopathy
Image: retinatucson.com

Retina Associates in Tucson, Arizona, provides medical support to individuals who are dealing with disorders of the vitreous and retina, including diabetic retinopathy. The Retina Associates practice is comprised of doctors including Cameron Javid, MD, who have undergone extensive training in the diagnosis and treatment of retina and vitreous disease.

There are a variety of well-known symptoms related to diabetes, such as increased thirst and hunger. Diabetes can also lead to advanced diabetic complications, including diabetic retinopathy. As blood vessels near the back of the eyes begin to weaken, individuals can experience a number of disruptive symptoms. Early symptoms may go unnoticed or cause minor vision problems, but left unchecked, diabetic retinopathy can result in symptoms as serious as blindness.

Diabetic retinopathy can be see in individuals living with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes. Considering the severity of late stage retinopathy, any person living with diabetes should receive annual, or even bi-annual, eye exams. The likelihood of developing the disease increases the longer a person suffers from diabetes and can directly correlate with unhealthy blood sugar levels. The better a person manages their diabetes, the lower their chances of developing diabetic retinopathy.

Some of the earliest symptoms of diabetic retinopathy involve spots and other vague shapes floating across a person’s field of vision, known as floaters. Additional vision problems include blurriness, issues perceiving colors, sudden drops in vision quality, and unexplained areas of darkness. Any person with diabetes experiencing these or similar symptoms should immediately contact their physician or a medical professional specializing in eye care and then be referred to a retina specialist.

Early Signs of Choroidal Melanoma

Retina Associates pic

Retina Associates
Image: retinatucson.com

Led by experienced an ocular oncologist, such as Cameron Javid, MD, Retina Associates in Tucson, Arizona, focuses on the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases affecting the retina and vitreous. Doctors at Retina Associates have worked with patients suffering from a number of diseases and disorders, including choroidal melanoma.

The most common primary eye cancer originating in the eye, choroidal melanomas are especially dangerous due to an extended period during which the tumor grows without demonstrating physical symptoms in patients. Choroidal melanomas are often found by chance during regularly scheduled ophthalmoscopy procedures. While symptoms may not appear for some time, particularly if the tumor is located in the peripheral retina, individuals may notice a number of warning signs.

Many symptoms associated with choroidal melanomas involve visual impairment such as blurred vision or seeing flashing lights. The goal of treatment is to prevent metastatic spread to the liver and lungs which can be fatal. Any person experiencing these symptoms should contact an eye specialist as soon as possible.,