When you hear the word "melanoma," you probably think of skin cancer. However, melanoma is a cancer of the melanin-producing cells, and these cells are found not only in your skin but also at the back of your eye. This means that in addition to protecting yourself from melanoma of the skin, you also need to take steps to protect yourself from ocular melanoma. Here's what you need to know about this serious eye cancer.
What are the signs of ocular melanoma, and how do you know whether you have it?
The scary thing about ocular melanoma is that it does not typically cause any symptoms until it is in its advanced stages, and at that point, it is hard to treat. Eventually, ocular melanoma may lead to blurry vision or the appearance of a "spot" in your visual field. However, it's best to detect it in the early stages before symptoms appear. The only way to do this is to see an eye doctor.
Your eye doctor will check for ocular melanoma by using a special microscope to look at the back of your eyes. If he or she sees any suspicious spots, more detailed imaging tests, like an ultrasound, will be used to determine if the spot is melanoma. Melanoma can progress quickly, so it's important to have yearly eye exams to ensure early detection.
How is ocular melanoma treated?
Early-stage cases can generally be treated without compromising the eyesight. The cancerous lesion can be surgically removed from the back of your eye, and then you may need radiation or chemotherapy to ensure any lingering cancer cells are killed.
If your melanoma is not detected until it is quite severe, you may end up losing your vision or even your entire eye in the treatment process. It is essential to have the cancer removed to prevent it from spreading to other organs. Your doctor will carefully scan your body to ensure the cancer has not spread, and if it has, your treatment may include other surgical excisions and more intensive chemotherapy.
How can you protect yourself from ocular melanoma?
While there is not way to absolutely guarantee that you will never develop this disease, you can significantly lower your risk by protecting your eyes from UV exposure. UV rays can damage the melanin-producing cells at the back of your eye, making melanoma more likely. Invest in a good pair of UV-blocking sunglasses, and wear then religiously whenever you go outside. Make sure they have wide lenses so that the sunlight does not reach your eyes from the side, either.
Ocular melanoma can easily claim your vision, and it can spread through your body with deadly consequences. Wear your sunglasses and see an ophthalmologist often for checkups. It's well worth your while to protect yourself from this serious disease.Share
7 July 2016
Hi, I'm Deena, and as I neared middle age, I noticed that my eyesight wasn't as good as it used to be. I first started out needing reading glasses to read the small print in magazines, and then a few months later, I had to put them on to see the computer screen clearly. I knew by then that my eyes were getting worse and that I needed to do something quickly. I made an appointment with the optometrist and the doctor gave me an eye exam. Even though my sight wasn't as bad as I had feared, I still needed prescription glasses. I love my new glasses because I can actually see now. I have put together a lot of information about eye problems, eye tests and even various types of eye wear so that others don't wait as long as I did to see the eye doctor.