Ocular Melanoma Diagnosis

The earlier ocular melanoma is detected, the more treatment options are available. Some cases are diagnosed after the patient experiences blurry vision or other symptoms and goes to his or her doctor to have their eyes checked out. Other cases are diagnosed in the absence of any noticeable symptoms during a routine eye exam. In the latter scenario, if the patient hadn’t been diligent about annual eye exams, the melanoma may have developed and progressed unnoticed.

California Retina Associates encourages you to see an eye doctor annually for an exam. Our doctors have special instruments and technology to see the internal structures of the eyes and look for anything suspicious that could indicate a problem like ocular melanoma.

Complete Eye Examination

Our ophthalmologists will perform a complete eye exam, looking both outside the eye and inside it. Your eyes will be dilated so we can see inside your eye easily. Special methods like ophthalmoscopy or slit-lamp biomicroscopy can provide us with a clearer view into the interior of the eye. These methods are completely painless and non-invasive.

Other Tests to Check for Ocular Melanoma

Our doctors may rely on other procedures or tests to check for ocular melanoma and/or gain clearer insight into the type and size of the tumor.

For example, we may perform a computerized tomography scan, in which a series of X-rays is taken to create a three-dimensional image of the inside of your head.

Or, we may want to use a test called fluorescein angiography to look at the blood vessels in your eye. We will inject a special colored dye into your arm, which travels through the bloodstream into the blood vessels inside the eye. A camera with a special filter takes photographs of the dye as it circulates through your retina and choroid (the vascular layer of the eye between the retina and sclera).

An eye ultrasound can also be useful in the diagnosis of ocular melanoma. We will use high-frequency sound waves, emitted from a handheld device, to produce images of your eye.

In certain cases, our doctors may want to take a biopsy, or small tissue sample, from your eye. After extracting some of the tissue inside the eye with a small needle, the tissue is sent to a laboratory to be tested for cancerous cells. A biopsy is not always needed to diagnose ocular melanoma.

Tests to Check whether the Cancer Has Spread

If we confirm a diagnosis of ocular melanoma, we may recommend you have additional tests or procedures to check whether the cancer has spread to other areas of your body. These tests may include a chest X-ray, CT scan, MRI, ultrasounds or blood tests.

Contact California Retina Associates

If you are experiencing any unusual changes in your vision, such as blurry or distorted vision, you should discuss your symptoms with one of our doctors. Depending on what we see, we may want to perform some additional tests or take images to get a clearer idea of what is going on inside your eye.

Should we diagnose you with ocular melanoma, we will be there for you to guide you through the treatment process.

Please call or email California Retina Associates today to make an appointment at one of our three San Diego-area office locations.