Ocular melanoma (you will see this written as OM) is cancer of the eye. Ocular melanoma can spread to other organs, and unfortunately when the disease has spread, half of all the patients will not survive. OM is different to skin melanoma and is not said to be related to sun exposures.
Once the disease has spread it is very difficult to treat, especially when there is liver involvement. However, if caught early enough, there are some treatments that have the potential to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life for many ocular melanoma patients. There new treatments that are currently being used in patients with OM and some of them have shown much promise.
Also known as Uveal melanoma, it affects between 500 and 600 patients in the UK every year. It does not usually give patients any symptoms and is often diagnosed at routine optical examinations. However, some patients have reported blurred vision, seeing flashing lights and shadows and discolouration to the white area of the eye. If you have any suspicion that you may have any issues at all, do arrange to be checked over.
When you are diagnosed with ocular melanoma it is highly likely that you will be referred to a specialist centre who will have the necessary expertise and skills to deal with your case. If you have not been referred to a centre that has specialist help, you might want to make enquiries about a referral to an expert in Ocular Melanoma.
If it is established that the disease has already spread you will be given advice and help to decide the best course of action. This might involve surgery and treatments.
You will be monitored very carefully throughout the whole journey and receive regular follow up appointments.
Please get in touch if you or someone you know has been affected by ocular melanoma, alternatively you may also wish to contact OcuMel UK who also offer support services.