Surgery is used to treat some eye melanomas, but it is used much less often now because the use of radiation therapy has become more common.
The type of surgery depends on the location and size of the tumor, how far the tumor has spread, and a person's overall health. All of these operations are done while you are under general anesthesia (in a deep sleep). Most people will stay in the hospital 1 or 2 days afterward. The operations used to treat people with eye melanoma include:
All surgery carries some risk, including the possibility of pain, bleeding, blood clots, infections, and complications from anesthesia.
Surgery on the eye can lead to the loss of some or all of the vision in that eye. Enucleation and orbital exenteration result in complete and immediate vision loss in the eye. Other surgeries can also cause problems leading to a loss of vision, which can occur later on. In some cases, vision may have already been damaged or lost because of the cancer.
Removal of the eyeball (enucleation) obviously can affect a person’s appearance. As noted above, an artificial eye can be put in place to help minimize this.
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Finger PT. Chapter 116: Intraocular melanoma. In: DeVita VT, Lawrence TS, Rosenberg SA, eds. DeVita, Hellman, and Rosenberg’s Cancer: Principles and Practice of Oncology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2015.
Grisanti S, Tura A. Uveal Melanoma. In Scott JF, Gerstenblith MR, eds. Noncutaneous Melanoma [Internet]. Brisbane (AU): Codon Publications; 2018 Mar. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK506988/ doi: 10.15586/codon.noncutaneousmelanoma.2018.
Karcioglu ZA, Haik BG. Chapter 67: Eye, orbit, and adnexal structures. In: Niederhuber JE, Armitage JO, Dorshow JH, Kastan MB, Tepper JE, eds. Abeloff’s Clinical Oncology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa. Elsevier: 2014.
National Cancer Institute. Physician Data Query (PDQ). Intraocular (Uveal) Melanoma Treatment. 2018. Accessed at https://www.cancer.gov/types/eye/hp/intraocular-melanoma-treatment-pdq#link/_101_toc. Accessed August 24, 2018.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology: Uveal Melanoma. V.1.2018. Accessed at https://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/pdf/uveal.pdf on August 15, 2018.
Last Revised: November 30, 2018