Ocular Melanoma – Symptoms, Diagnosis, Prognosis, Foundations, Treatments

To start, there are two separate classifications for tumors in the eye. They can be choroidal or conjunctival.

You may feel a familiarity with the latter and the schoolyard disease of conjunctivitis, and with good reason as it refers to the same structure. The conjunctiva is the mucous film that covers the front of the eyes and insides of the eyelids to protect yours. Its comprised of unkeratinized, stratified squamous epithelium and stratified columnar epithelium.

Different types of eye cancer

It’s full of microvessels and offers lubrication and helps with tear production. It also adds a protective coat around the eyeball to prevent pathogens from entering. Cancers of this region include conjunctival Kaposi’s sarcoma, epibulbar dermoid, lymphoma, PAM with atypia, pingueculum, pterygium, and intraepithelial neoplasia of the conjunctiva.

The choroid (choroidea) refers to a vascular layer of the eye. It’s made of connective tissues from the mesodermal consisting of fibers (elastic or collagenous), ground substance (extracellular, amorphous gel), and cells of the respective type. It lies between the retina and the sclera. They provide oxygen and nourishment to the outer parts of retinas. It helps form the uveal tract in combination with the ciliary body and iris. It has four distinct sections -Hallers layer, Scaattlers layer, choriocapillaris, and Bruchs membrane. Malignant tumor formations of this region are the Choroidal hemangioma, metastasis, nevus, osteoma, melanoma, ciliary body melanoma, and the Nevus of Ota.

Ocular melanoma symptoms

You may question how ocular melanoma (OC) symptoms present themselves as you don’t normally think about a mole growing on your eye. Eyes also do have pigment producing cells. Most form in further regions of the eye you can’t visualize with a peek in the mirror. Equipment beyond basic reflection will be needed. Functional difficulties are more apparent. Sensations of flashing, visualization of floaters, poor or blurry eyesight, or lass of peripheral vision are demonstrations of such dysfunction. Apparent observations which may occur are growing dark spots in irises or a chance of the shape of the pupil.

What causes ocular melanoma?

Hereditary factors are generally prominent in forms of cancer with ocular melanoma being no exception. Aside from that, no known cause has been attributed to the rare cancer. Links have been established between those with light eye colors (blue or green) and Caucasians. Exposure to excessive sunlight and age are also things to consider. Certain inherited skin conditions like dysplastic nevus syndrome (can cause abnormal mole growth). Any condition which involves weird pigmentation, especially surrounding the eyelids, eye, or uvea increases risk of contraction.

Spreading awareness and the ocular melanoma foundation

Education is the key and educating the general population of the risks of certain activities as well as how to spot early signs of cancer can make sure you get the treatment you need and prevent the death toll from increasing. The Ocular Melanoma Foundation dedicates funds and efforts in order to get that information out there and keeping the people informed. They organize fundraisers and encourage research and support advocacy. They run grant awards such as the AACR Ocular Melanoma Foundation Career Development Award in order to finance efforts to beat it. In 2018, this was awarded to Dr. Alison Skalet, MD, Ph.D. or Oregon Health, and Science. She’s exploring whether certain hybrid cells can help predict sever events and replace more invasive therapy techniques. They also are strategic partners with the RCF and NORD.

Ocular melanoma prognosis?

The prognosis for ocular melanoma is rather bleak compared to other, similar cancers of the eye. It’s the most common, but how it spreads throughout the body is what makes it deadly. Metastases occur when the disease spreads beyond the eyes. It can quickly spread to the liver, heart, or other vital organs, making it deadly. This complication is the most dangerous part of most cancers, however, the instance of this occurrence is rather high in OC. Also, like other cancers, your life expectancy has a more optimistic outlook when it’s detected in the earlier stages.

How do you receive a diagnosis?

When you visit ophthalmologists, they will perform special tests on your eyes in order to recognize early. An ophthalmologist can use ophthalmoscopes to lighten and magnify nether regions of the eye for inspection. An ophthalmoscope can be direct or indirect.

How it diagnosis visual problems is by using magnifying glasses to observe the back of the eye. A slit lamp or gonioscopy lens may also be instruments used during your visit. What is used will depend greatly on your family history as screening may not be initiated in the absence of symptoms or risk factors. Trained professionals are the only individuals able to offer concrete diagnoses. Simply looking at pictures online is not enough for a solid result.

Ocular melanoma treatment options?

The treatments for ocular melanoma will change in aggressiveness depending on the stage and size of the tumor. Enucleation is a radical procedure used if the eye can’t be saved (saving the eye while using effective treatment is the priority). Plaque radiation, Charged particle external beam radiation and gamma knife therapy are often used instead. Resections are another surgical approach that substitutes complete enucleations.



Article References:

  1. http://www.ocularmelanoma.org/types-of-eye-cancer.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3693189/
  3. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/eye-melanoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20372371
  4. http://www.ocularmelanoma.org/
  5. https://www.cancer.org/cancer/eye-cancer/detection-diagnosis-staging/tests.html