What to Know About Ocular Melanoma Eye Cancer
While many of us are quite aware of the different types of cancer that can affect us throughout life, relatively few are aware of the most common type of eye cancer-called Ocular Melanoma (OM). Approximately 2,500 American adults are diagnosed with ocular melanoma (OM) annually in the United States.
What is Ocular Melanoma (OM)?
OM is an aggressive malignant cancer that starts in the pigment cells of the eye that produce eye color. In general, OM 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.
Diagnosis, Signs & Symptoms of Ocular Melanoma (OM)
Often, during a routine eye exam through a dilated pupil, it is possible for eye doctors to detect OM, reinforcing the importance of scheduling regular eye exam 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 their risk of Ocular Melanoma (OM) or has any family member who has been diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, please be sure to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an eye exam appointment.