Eye-sparing radiation is the most common therapy
If you are being treated for uveal melanoma, also known as ocular melanoma, your doctor has three main goals: To lower your risk of metastasis, to prevent local growth of the eye tumor and destruction of ocular tissues, and to preserve as much of your vision as possible.
The size and location of the eye tumor, your ability to undergo surgery, and personal preference are important factors that will help determine which eye tumor treatment is best for you. Radiation therapy is the most widely used, with about 80-90% of uveal melanoma patients receiving some form of radiation of the tumor. Plaque radiotherapy is the most common form, in which a radioactive disc is placed directly onto the surface of the eye to destroy the tumor. The process takes a couple of days and then the disc, or plaque, is removed.
Proton beam therapy is an alternative to plaque radiotherapy. In this treatment, small rings are placed around the edges of the eye tumor to direct the radiation beams and spare the surrounding healthy tissue.
Enucleation, or removal of the eye, is the best choice for about 10% of patients. It is especially effective in people whose tumor is very large, has bled significantly, destroyed much of the eye tissue, or spread beyond the eye. Enucleation does not improve your chance of survival compared to radiotherapy.
These options are considered highly effective at curing the primary tumor but have no impact on metastasis should it occur.