- How is eye cancer treated?
- Surgery for eye cancer
- Radiation therapy for eye cancer
- Laser therapy for eye cancer
- Chemotherapy for eye cancer
- Targeted drugs and immune therapy for eye cancer
- Clinical trials for eye cancer
- Complementary and alternative therapies for eye cancer
- Treating uveal (eye) melanoma by location and size
- Treating intraocular (eye) lymphoma
- More treatment information
How is eye cancer treated?
Making treatment decisions
After an eye cancer is found and staged, your cancer care team will discuss your treatment options with you. Depending on the type and stage of the cancer and other factors, treatment options for eye cancer can include:
Sometimes, more than one of type of treatment might be used. In choosing which treatment plan is best for you, some important factors to consider include the location and stage of the cancer, your overall health, the chances of curing the disease, and the possible impact of the treatment on vision.
You may have different types of doctors on your treatment team, depending on the stage of your cancer and your treatment options. These doctors may include:
- An ophthalmologist: a doctor who specializes in treating diseases of the eye
- An ocular oncologist: a doctor (usually an ophthalmologist) who specializes in treating cancers of the eye
- A radiation oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with radiation therapy
- A medical oncologist: a doctor who treats cancer with medicines such as chemotherapy
Many other specialists may be involved in your care as well, including physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, physical therapists, social workers, and other health professionals.
It is important to discuss all of your treatment options as well as their possible side effects with your doctors to help make the decision that best fits your needs. (See the section “What should you ask your doctor about eye cancer?” for some questions to ask.)
Because eye melanomas and lymphomas are rare, no matter what treatment you decide on, it should be done by doctors who are experienced in treating people with these cancers. If time permits it is often a good idea to seek a second opinion from an experienced doctor as well. A second opinion can provide more information and help you feel more confident about the treatment plan that is chosen.
Treatments for eye cancers might interfere with or cause complete loss of vision. Doctors try to preserve vision whenever possible, but this may not always be the best choice. Eye cancers can often be fatal if left untreated, and some patients must be given treatment regardless of the possible damage to the eye. On the other hand, some eye melanomas are small, grow very slowly (if at all), and can be watched carefully without treatment. This is why it is important to get the opinion of a skilled specialist in this field before deciding on treatment.
The next few sections describe the types of treatments used for eye melanomas and lymphomas. This is followed by a description of the most common approaches to treating melanomas and lymphomas, based on the situation.
See the “Additional resources for eye cancer” section for other materials on the different types of cancer treatments and their side effects.
Last Medical Review: 09/13/2013
Last Revised: 02/11/2014