Ocular melanoma

Ocular melanoma, or melanoma of the eye, is the most common primary eye tumour in adults and the 2nd most common melanoma (after cutaneous melanoma)

Like other melanomas, it begins in melanocytes – the cells that produce the pigment melanin that colours the skin, hair, and eyes, as well as forms moles.

  Uveal melanoma: The uvea is a three-layered part of the back of the eye. It is made up of the choroid, iris and ciliary body. Uveal melanoma can form in any of the three layers and is named for where it forms.

Melanoma in the iris occurs in the front, colored part of the eye. Iris melanomas usually grow slowly and do not typically metastasize, or spread, to other parts of the body outside the eye. Ciliary body melanomas occur in the back part of the eye and are grouped by the size of the tumor. Melanomas in the ciliary body tend to grow and metastasize to the liver more quickly than iris melanomas.

Choroidal melanoma: Choroidal melanoma is the most common subtype of uveal melanoma. Choroidal melanoma begins in the layer of blood vessels – the choroid – beneath the retina.

Conjunctival melanoma: Conjunctival melanoma is very rare. It often appears as a raised tumor and may contain little or even no pigment, or color. Conjunctival melanoma most commonly occurs in the bulbar conjunctiva – the mucous membrane that covers the outer surface of the eyeball. Unlike other forms of eyemelanoma that spread most often to the liver, when conjunctival melanoma spreads, it most often spreads to the lungs.

Many thanks to MPNE Ocular for putting this together and allowing us to use it

MPNE fact sheet Ocular melanoma


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