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Eye Cancer


The treatment options for eye cancer include:

  • Monitoring: No immediate treatment is required for small ocular melanoma. Therefore, oncologists may monitor the tumor for any indications of growth.
  • Radiation therapy: Radiation therapy may help in preserving the vision. However, some patients may lose vision if the radiation damages the essential parts of the eye. An advantage of radiation therapy over surgery is the structure preservation that may improve appearance after treatment. Episcleral plaque therapy, or ocular brachytherapy, is one of the most common radiation therapies for eye cancer. The benefit of this technique is that the radiation has to cover a shorter distance to reach the tumor, and thus the effect is precisely on the tumor, and other healthy structures are at low risk for damage.
  • Laser treatment: Laser treatment may be used alone or with radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Thermotherapy, a laser treatment, uses an infrared laser to destroy tumor cells.
  • Cold treatments: In some cases, cryotherapy may also be used to treat small eye melanomas. However, this therapy is not common in practice for ocular cancer.
  • Photodynamic therapy: Photodynamic therapy is used for small tumors and is not very effective in treating large sized eye tumors. The technique involves using special medications and a particular wavelength of light. These medications make the cancer cells sensitive to light.
  • Surgery: Several types of surgeries are available for eye cancer, and the choice depends upon the size and location of the tumor.
      Iridotrabeculectomy: The surgery involves the removal of a section of the iris and a small part of the outer eyeball.
      Iridectomy: In this surgery, a section of the iris is removed.
      Iridocyclectomy: This surgery involves the removal of a part of the iris and ciliary body. Iridectomy, iridocyclectomy, and iridotrabeculectomy are used for treating minor iris melanoma.
      Enucleation: This surgical intervention involves the removal of the complete eyeball. It is generally used in patients with large eye tumors. It may also be done when the vision is lost or other therapies that are used have the potential to cause vision loss. After removing the eyeball, an orbital implant is placed in the place of the removed eyeball, usually during the same surgery.
      Orbital exenteration: This surgical intervention is not common for eye cancer but is used in cases when the eye cancer spreads to nearby structures. The surgery involves the removal of the eyeball and other structures, such as nerves, muscles, and other eye socket tissues.
  • Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy is not a common treatment option for eye cancer. However, it may be prescribed in patients with metastatic eye cancer to other body parts, such as the liver or lungs.
  • Immunotherapy: Certain processes in the cancer cells allow them to evade the attack of the immune system. Immunotherapy drugs interfere with those processes and make the cancer cells vulnerable to immune system attack. One type of immunotherapy is a bispecific T-cell engager. One section of the drug attaches to the melanoma cells, while the other section attaches to the T-cell of the immune system. The drug acts as an engager between the melanoma cells and T-cells. Another type of immunotherapy is immune checkpoint inhibitors.
  • Targeted therapy: Certain proteins are essential for cancer cell growth, division, and spread. Targeted therapy targets these essential proteins to kill or prevent the growth of cancer cells.

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