Understanding Uveal Melanoma and Its Treatment Options

 

Retina Associates
Image: retinatucson.com

Retina Associates is an ophthalmology practice located in Tucson, Arizona, where Dr. Cameron Javid and his fellow physicians provide surgical treatment for a wide range of eye conditions. The team at Retina Associates focuses on retinal tears and detachment, as well as diabetes-related eye disorders and tumors inside the eye.

Uveal melanoma is regarded as one of the deadliest eye diseases among adults. In the United States, about 2,000 individuals per year are diagnosed with it, Unfortunately, there hasn’t been enough research done to identify its exact cause or common risk factors. Overexposure to sunlight was once thought to be a major factor, but that has since been proven inaccurate. Smoking is considered a risk factor. Yet, there are proven obscure risk factors such as potential associations dysplastic nevus syndrome, and melanosis oculi. People with fair skin and light colored eyes are at risk.

The disease can occur within three areas of the eye: the iris, the ciliary body, and the choroid – and half of those patients will develop the fatal metastatic form of the disease within 10 to 15 years after diagnosis. The primary form of treatment is radiation therapy, which is given to roughly 80 percent of patients and is available in two forms: proton beam radiotherapy and plaque brachytherapy, the latter of which is the most common.

Those with larger tumors might require enucleation, which involves removing the eye and optic nerve while retaining the nearby orbital adnexal tissue and attaching a spherical orbital implant. A custom-made prosthesis replaces the implant 6-8 weeks after surgery.