Eye Cancer (Melanoma and Lymphoma)

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Treating Eye Cancer TOPICS

Laser therapy for eye cancer

Lasers are highly focused beams of light that can be used to destroy tissue. Laser therapy is sometimes used to treat intraocular melanoma, but it is not used to treat intraocular lymphoma.

Transpupillary thermotherapy (TTT)

This is the most common type of laser treatment for eye melanoma. It uses infrared light to heat the tumor and cause it to die. It works well for choroidal melanomas because the melanin pigment in these cells absorbs the light energy. TTT may be used to treat small choroidal melanomas. It is not usually the main treatment, but it may be used as an adjuvant (additional) treatment after brachytherapy (plaque radiotherapy). Usually 1 to 3 treatments are given to kill the tumor.

Laser photocoagulation

This treatment uses a highly focused, high-energy light beam to burn tissue. This type of treatment was first tried in the 1950s, but it is rarely used now to treat intraocular melanoma. It can be effective for very small melanomas, but it is more often used to treat side effects from radiation. Several laser treatments are usually given 6 or 8 weeks apart to treat a tumor.

Possible side effects of laser therapy

As with radiation therapy, the main concern with laser therapy is damage to parts of the eye that could result in loss of vision. The risk depends on the size and location of the tumor.


Last Medical Review: 09/13/2013
Last Revised: 02/11/2014