St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Melanoma of the eye

    Malignant melanoma - choroid; Malignant melanoma - eye; Eye tumor; Ocular melanoma

    Melanoma of the eye is cancer that occurs in various parts of the eye.


    Melanoma is a very aggressive type of cancer that can spread rapidly.

    Melanoma of the eye can affect several parts of the eye, including the:

    • Choroid
    • Ciliary body
    • Conjunctiva
    • Eyelid
    • Iris
    • Orbit

    The choroid layer is the most likelysite of melanoma in the eye.

    The cancer may only be in the eye. Or it may spread (metastasize) to another location in the body, most commonly the liver. Melanoma can also begin on the skin or other organs in the body and spread to the eye.

    Melanoma is the most common type of eye tumor in adults. Even so, melanoma that starts inthe eye is rare.

    Too muchexposure to sunlight is an important risk factor. Persons who have fair-skin and blue eyes are most affected.


    • Bulging eyes
    • Change in iris color
    • Poor vision in one eye
    • Red, painful eye
    • Small defect on the iris or conjunctiva

    In some cases, there may be no symptoms.

    Exams and Tests

    An eye examination with an ophthalmoscope may reveal a single round or oval lump (tumor) in the eye.

    Tests that may be orderedinclude:

    • Cranial CT scan to look for spread (metastasis) to the brain
    • Eye ultrasound
    • MRI of the head to look forspread (metastasis) to the brain
    • Skin biopsy if there is an affected area on the skin


    Small melanomas may be treated with:

    • Laser
    • Radiation therapy (brachytherapy)

    Surgery toremove the eye (enucleation) may be needed.

    Other treatments that may be used are chemotherapyy or biological therapy (interferon).

    Support Groups

    You can ease the stress of illness by joining acancer support group. Sharing with others who have common experiences and problems can help you not feel alone.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    The outcome for melanoma of the eye depends on the size of the cancer when it is diagnosed. Most patients survive at least 5 years from the time of diagnosis if the cancer has not spread outside the eye.

    If the cancer has spread outside the eye, the chance of survival is much lower.

    • Distortion or loss of vision
    • Retinal detachment
    • Spread of the tumor to other areas of the body

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you have symptoms of melanoma of the eye.


    The most important way to prevent eye melanoma is toprotect the eyes fromsunlight, especially between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the sun's rays are most intense. Wear sunglasses that have ultraviolet protection.

    A yearly eye exam is recommended.


    Lange JR, Fecher LA, Sharfman WH, et al. Melanoma. In: Abeloff MD, Armitage JO, Niederhuber JE, et al., eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 4th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2008:chap 73.

    National Cancer Institute: PDQ Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma Treatment. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. Date last modified 11/09/2012. Accessed September 20, 2013.


    • Retina


      • Retina


      A Closer Look

        Talking to your MD

          Self Care

            Tests for Melanoma of the eye

            Review Date: 9/20/2013

            Reviewed By: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

            A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

            Back  |  Top
            About Us
            Contact Us
            Locations & Directions
            Quality Reports
            Annual Reports
            Honors & Awards
            Community Health Needs

            Brain & Spine
            Sleep Medicine
            Urgent Care
            Women's Services
            All Services
            Patients & Visitors
            Locations & Directions
            Find a Physician
            Tour St. Luke's
            Patient & Visitor Information
            Contact Us
            Payment Options
            Financial Assistance
            Send a Card
            Mammogram Appointments
            Health Tools
            My Personal Health
            Spirit of Women
            Health Information & Tools
            Clinical Trials
            Employer Programs -
            Passport to Wellness

            Classes & Events
            Classes & Events
            Spirit of Women
            Donate & Volunteer
            Giving Opportunities
            Physicians & Employees
            For Physicians
            Remote Access
            Medical Residency Information
            Pharmacy Residency Information
            Physician CPOE Training
            St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
            Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile