What is a Choroidal Melanoma?
Choroidal melanoma is a cancer of the eye, caused by malignant tumor cells that form inside the eye tissue called the choroid. The choroid is the blood-vessel layer of the eye that lies between the retina and the sclera. The choroid, along with the ciliary body and iris, forms the uvea. While the choroid is the most common location for a melanoma, they can also form in the iris and ciliary body.
Choroidal melanoma, like all cancers, is a serious condition that can lead to loss of vision and, if the tumor metastasizes (spreads outside of the eye), more serious complications including death. Because choroidal melanomas often grow slowly, vision complications are rare while they are still small and it isn't until the tumor grows larger that it is detected. Early diagnosis and treatment of a choroidal melanoma is the best chance of survival and recovery.
Diagnosis & Treatment
Choroidal melanomas can be seen by opthalmoscopy, an examination that allows your doctor to see the interior surface of the eye by dilating the pupils. The characteristics of a choroidal melanoma are most commonly pigmentation, but can also include leakage of fluid or retinal detachment, and thickness. A biopsy is usually unnecessary to confirm this diagnosis.
Once a choroidal melanoma has been diagnosed, it is essential to detect whether or not the cancer has spread beyond the eye to the eye socket or other parts of the body. If only the eye is affected by the cancer, the proper treatment will be recommended. This includes radiation therapy, laser therapy and tumor or eye removal. The proper options and treatment vary depending upon the size, location and specifics of your tumor.