Our multidisciplinary care teams include ophthalmologists, surgeons, radiologists, pathologists, pharmacists and advanced practice nurses with expertise in ocular melanoma.
The benefits of our multidisciplinary and highly experienced teams include:
- Access to doctors and surgeons who rank among the top cancer experts in the world.
- Weekly review of patient cases by the full team of experts.
- Coordinated scheduling for appointments among various specialties.
- Access to a nurse navigator to assist you throughout the treatment process.
- Access to support programs and groups for you and your caregivers.
- Availability of specific new treatment options for ocular melanoma within our clinical trials program.
An examination through a dilated pupil is one of the only ways that a doctor can diagnose ocular melanoma with enough time to save a patient's eye. Although a thorough eye examination by an experienced clinician is the most important procedure for detecting ocular melanoma, ancillary diagnostic testing may also be used. Ancillary diagnostic testing may include fluorescein angiography and ultrasonography.
Fluorescein angiography uses an injection of a fluorescent dye through the hand or arm to allow the photography of the blood vessels in the back of the eye. This procedure is most commonly used to confirm a diagnosis or to create guidelines for a treatment method.
Ultrasonography uses a small probe within the closed eyelid in order to bounce sound waves off of the eyeball. The reflected sound waves produce a 2D image of the interior of the eye, therefore helping a doctor to see abnormal tissues and the blood vessels in the eye.
A CT scan takes a series of detailed pictures of the eye using x-rays and a computer imaging system. These pictures allow doctors to see tumors within the orbits (eye sockets). In some cases, a dye may be injected into a vein so that the tissues are more visible in x-ray images.
An MRI uses a powerful magnet linked to a computer to create images of a targeted area such as the ocular orbits in order to see tumors and irregular tissues.
Ocular coherence tomography (OCT) is an imaging method that uses light beams and a reference mirror to reflect light on the retinal tissue in order to produce cross-sectional images of ocular tissue.
The patient's overall health must also be taken into account. The main goals in treating ocular melanoma are to prevent the spread of the tumor and to maintain the patient's vision. The following methods of treatment may be used for the treatment of ocular melanoma:
Observation may be used for the treatment of small or slowly growing ocular tumors. It may also be the best option for those whose cancer is in their only functioning eye. If the cancer grows larger than 10mm in width or 2-3mm in height (thickness), the doctor and the patient may begin to sort through alternate treatment options.
Surgery is a common procedure for the treatment of ocular melanoma. A doctor will remove the affected parts of the eye depending on the size and spread of the tumor.
In some cases, the removal of the eye or enucleation is the only viable treatment option in order to save the patient's life. With the loss of an eye, a patient will have to work through various issues with depth perception and vision. Most patients adjust to these differences within a year.
Most patients are worried about what they may look like after the removal of an eye. There are many cosmetic options and plastic prostheses that can be used to restore a normal looking appearance.
Radiation therapy uses high-energy beams to kill the cancer. Radiation therapy can be conducted using proton beams (charged particles), brachytherapy (internal radiation), or traditional external radiation. Radiation therapy is a localized therapy that treats only the area surrounding the cancer.
There are often times many side effects to radiation therapy. Radiation to the eye can result in cataracts (cloudy eye lens), loss of eyelashes, or dry eyes. There are methods of treatment that can alleviate symptoms that result from radiation to the eye.
Laser therapy uses heat from lasers to shrink smaller tumors. This method usually has fewer side effects than surgery and radiation therapy.
Emory Eye Center physicians are involved in numerous clinical trials and studies. Being part of a major medical center allows access to collaborative studies not otherwise possible. Emory Eye Center has ongoing clinical trials for the treatment of many eye disorders and diseases.
In addition to delivering the highest quality medical care, we recognize the importance of the psychological and emotional aspects of living with a cancer diagnosis and of dealing with treatment. Our supportive oncology team addresses these issues in a timely manner with additional support from counselors, nurse navigators, dietitians and social service professionals.
We understand that this is a very stressful time. We welcome your questions and requests for help. Learn what to expect on your first visit.
Your Treatment Team
- Physician Diagnosticians
- Nurse Navigators
- Adv Practice
- Support Services
- Clinical Trials
- Dr. Ermentrout is a board certified interventional radiologist with a clinical practice encompassing the full spectrum of minimally invasive vascular and non-vascular interventional radiology procedures.
- Assistant Professor, Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 712-7033
- Dr. Grossniklaus specializes in the treatment of diseases and cancers of the eye, specifically uveal melanoma, and retinal and conjunctival tumors.
- Director, Section of Ocular Oncology and Pathology, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University
- (404) 778-2020
- Dr. Wojno is a board certified ophthalmologist with sought-after expertise in oculoplastics and the treatment of tumors of the eyelids, tear ducts, and orbit.
- James and Shirley Kuse Professor, Ophthalmology, Emory University School of Medicine
- (404) 778-2020