If you have any symptoms of eye melanoma, they need to be checked by your doctor.

How is eye melanoma diagnosed?

Your doctor will suggest several tests and scans to check for any abnormal changes.

Eye exam
A doctor will look at your eye using a small hand-held lens and light (ophthalmoscope). The doctor may use special eye drops to open (dilate) your pupil.

These eye drops can make your eyesight blurry, and you may find bright lights uncomfortable.

Bring along sunglasses for afterwards and avoid driving until your eyesight returns to normal.

Fluorescein angiography
Once the eye is dilated using eye drops, a dye (fluorescein) is injected into a vein in your arm. Images are taken of the eye as the dye moves through the blood vessels at the back of the eye. 

Ultrasound scan
A small probe is pressed against your closed eyelid. This painless scan uses sound waves to make a picture of the inside of your eye.

A biopsy involves taking a small piece of tissue or cells using a thin needle.

PET-CT scan
A PET-CT scan uses a radioactive dye injected into your arm that will show up in areas affected by cancer. You may have to travel for this scan.

MRI scan
A scan using magnetic fields and radio waves to build a picture of the organs inside the body.

After a diagnosis

If your test results show cancer, this can be a difficult time, and feelings can change from one moment to the next. 

Everyone reacts differently when they learn they have cancer. There is no right or wrong way to feel. 

Talk about your treatment options with your doctor, family and friends. Ask for as much information as you need. It is up to you how involved you want to be in decisions about your treatment. 

Client talking to a Cancer Information Nurse
Client talking to a Cancer Information Nurse
Client talking to a Cancer Information Nurse

Stages of eye melanoma

Based on your test results, the treatment team will give the cancer a stage between 1 to 4.

The stage tells you the cancer's size and whether it has spread to other parts of your body.

In general, stage 1 means it has not spread and stage 4 means it has spread to other organs. 

Knowing the eye melanoma stage will help your treatment team decide what treatment options are best for you.

Prognosis for eye melanoma

The prognosis is the likely outcome of a disease. 

If the test results show eye melanoma, you may wish to speak with your treatment team about the prognosis.

The doctors will look at the type and stage of the cancer as well as your age and general health to give a prognosis, but no doctor can predict the exact outcome for you. 

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Last updated: December 22, 2022