About Ocular Melanoma

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, May 11, 2015

About Ocular Melanoma

Ocular Melanoma (OM) is the most common form of cancer that occurs in the eye. Every year, approximately 2,500 American adults are diagnosed with ocular melanoma (OM). OM is an aggressive malignant cancer that starts in the pigment cells that produce eye color and tends to occur in people with light skin pigmentation and more typically, blue or green eyes and who are over age 50. However, OM also can occur in individuals of every race and at any age. For about 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with OM, the cancer may be fatal, because it metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body. OM is considered a silent killer. There are no early warning signs, and it is difficult to see when studying your eyes in the mirror.

Eye doctors usually detect OM during routine eye exams, reinforcing the importance of scheduling regular appointments. Once OM has developed, people may experience blurred vision, a change in the shape of the pupil, flashing lights in their vision, loss of vision in the affected eye or a dark spot on the iris. Researchers have discovered that people with OM tend to have certain gene mutations, which could suggest there is a strong genetic component to the disease. However, scientists have not concluded that these abnormalities are the cause. They believe there may be a connection between the development of OM and prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light, such as from tanning beds, but there is not significant research confirming this link.

 If you or someone you know is concerned about the risk of ocular melanoma (OM) please
schedule an appointment at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.