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May is Melanoma Awareness Month!

May is Melanoma Awareness Month!

When most people hear about melanoma, usually skin cancer first comes to mind—but, did you know we could also develop cancer in or on our eye?

Ocular melanoma is a rare type of cancer that develops from the pigment producing cells of the eye, including the choroid, iris, sclera, and conjunctiva, with an incidence of ~6/million.

Some increased risk factors include:

-UV light

-Light-colored eyes

-Personal & family history of Melanoma

-Atypical moles

-Ocular Nevi (existing benign “freckle” of the eye)

If you are diagnosed with a nevus in the eye, it is important to follow up as recommended for additional testing or to monitor for changes.

Treatment depends on the location and size of melanoma, but it usually includes radiation or surgery.

Ocular melanomas are important to diagnose and treat early to decrease the risk of metastasis or spread to other parts of the body, which can be life-threatening.

During early stages, you usually can’t see, feel, or notice ocular melanomas. You can even have 20/20 vision, which is why it’s important to see an optometrist or ophthalmologist for your yearly comprehensive eye exam, including a retinal exam. ☺

**This post is intended for educational purposes only and not medical advice, make sure to consult with an eye doctor**

Author
Parisa Jalalat, OD Parisa Jalalat, OD Dr. Parisa Jalalat is a California board-certified optometrist with therapeutic and glaucoma certifications. She has a passion for providing top quality, innovative eye care and a personalized patient experience. She is experienced in performing comprehensive eye exams, treating ocular diseases, dry eye, co-managing ocular surgeries, and fitting soft and hard contact lenses.

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