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Melanoma of the eye

  • Definition

    Melanoma of the eye is cancer that occurs in various parts of the eye.

    Alternative Names

    Malignant melanoma - choroid; Malignant melanoma - eye; Eye tumor; Ocular melanoma

    Causes, incidence, and risk factors

    Melanoma is a very aggressive type of cancer that can spread rapidly.

    Melanoma of the eye can affect several parts of the eye, including the:

    • Choroid
    • Ciliary body
    • Conjunctiva
    • Eyelid
    • Iris
    • Orbit

    The choroid layer is the most likely location of melanoma in the eye.

    The cancer may only be in the eye, or it may spread (metastasize) to another location in the body, most commonly the liver. Melanoma can also begin on the skin or other organs in the body and spread to the eye.

    Melanoma is the most common type of eye tumor in adults. Even so, primary melanoma of the eye is rare.

    Excessive exposure to sunlight is an important risk factor. The occurrence of melanoma has greatly increased in recent decades. Fair-skinned and blue-eyed people are most often affected.