A collection of cells that grow and multiply abnormally can form masses or ocular tumors inside the eye. While they can form in the eye when cancer in another part of the body has metastasized, malignant melanoma is a choroidal nevus – a small mole or birthmark – in the eye. Ocular melanoma is the most common type of ocular malignancy. It occurs in the iris, ciliary body, and the choroid – the uvea between the retina and the sclera and are formed from pigmented cells – making it difficult to detect.
Ocular melanoma is usually found during routine eye exams because most people do not have symptoms. However, when patients do, the symptoms can vary, such as shadows, flashes of light, distortion of vision, total or partial loss of vision, blurred vision, dark patches, bulging of one eye, irregularly shaped pupil, loss of peripheral vision, glaucoma, floating objects in the vision, a lump on or near the eyelid, pain in or around the eye, and infrequently they will experience discoloration of the iris.
Further testing may be required to determine the extent of the tumor’s growth, and your doctor may recommend binocular indirect ophthalmoscopy or slit-lamp biomicroscopy, which uses lenses and microscopes to illuminate the interior of your eye. Other options include ultrasound, imaging, tomography, and in some cases, a biopsy.
Treatment options include surgery, eye removal, radiation, and laser therapy, which are all effective in eliminating a malignant ocular tumor. Early detection can affect your treatment plan and the level of vision loss. The larger the tumor, the greater the chance for permanent and more significant vision loss.
Changes in your vision can indicate more than just loss of vision as part of the aging process. A yearly eye exam can prevent permanent vision loss, contact us online at New Vision Eye Center or call 772-257-8700 for more information or schedule a consultation with our World-Class Eye Care team.