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Trends & Times

A Look At Eye Melanoma

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"Dr. Tim Corson explained to Sound Medicine's Jill Ditmire recently that the key to treatment is stopping eye melanoma early before it can metastasize," says host Barbara Lewis. 

Interview highlights 

Tim Corson: Eye melanoma is the most common eye cancer in adults, but it's still quite a rare cancer. There are someone around 200 new cases a year in the United States. But it does make up about 5 percent of all melanoma diagnoses. 

Ditmire: Are certain people more at risk than others?

Corson: Absolutely, some of the risk factors are shared with skin melanoma. People with light skin, light hair and light eyes are at much greater risk than those with darker complexions. 

Ditmire: What are the symptoms? 

Corson: Unfortunately, the cancer is often fairly asymptomatic until the tumors within the eye are quite large. Sometimes loss of part of the visual field is the first symptom that people see or floaters, so the perception of something floating in the eye. But these can be symptoms of other eye diseases as well. The best way to keep an eye out for the cancer—no pun intended—is to have those annual eye exams with an optometrist or ophthalmologist.