Uveal melanoma, also known as intraocular melanoma or melanoma of the eye, is rare. Only about 2500 people are expected to be diagnosed with it this year across the United States. It represents about 5% of all melanomas diagnosed each year.
The cause of uveal melanoma is still unknown, but it is not believed to be caused by exposure to the sun or other sources of ultraviolet radiation.
Some patients with uveal melanoma have no symptoms and are diagnosed during a routine eye exam. Others get flashes, floaters, or other vision problems that bring them to their local eye doctor. In either instance, patients are referred to a specialist who is able to make the diagnosis.
Patients with uveal melanoma have not benefited from the same explosion in treatment advances that those with cutaneous melanoma have access to. Immunotherapy with checkpoint inhibitors and BRAF-focused targeted therapies aren’t effective for most uveal patients. If diagnosed with uveal melanoma, consider joining a clinical trial as an effective treatment strategy. Learn more about melanoma treatment options.
When caught early, the outlook for uveal melanoma is good. However, in up to about half of all patients, the melanoma returns and spreads to other parts of the body.
Photos of Uveal Melanoma
Photo Credit: CDC/ Carl Washington, M.D., Emory Univ. School of Medicine; Mona Saraiya, MD, MPH