Research shows need for regular ophthalmic screenings in cutaneous melanoma patients

July 1, 2008

New York - Patients with metastatic cutaneous melanoma should be periodically given an ophthalmic examination to screen for metastasis to the eye, lids and orbit, according to a study reported by HealthDay News.

New York - Patients with metastatic cutaneous melanoma should be periodically given an ophthalmic examination to screen for metastasis to the eye, lids and orbit, according to a study reported by HealthDay News.

Conducted by researchers at New York University School of Medicine and published in the May/June issue of the Survey of Ophthalmology, the study is based on a literature review of cases of metastatic malignant melanoma, and describes patient characteristics, clinical presentations and diagnostic techniques, as well as treatments and outcomes.

According to the study, metastases to the uvea, vitreous, retina and anterior segment are more common than those to the eyelids, orbit and extraocular muscles. Intraocular metastases are also more common in younger patients. Whereas intraocular disease is normally treated with palliative radiation therapy, extraocular disease is usually treated with surgical resection and radiation therapy.

“Unfortunately, there are few good options for systemic treatment of diffusely metastatic melanoma,” the authors write. “Therefore, patients with ocular metastasis should be managed to prevent loss of vision or loss of the eye, and to maximize their quality of life.”

The study notes that the incidence of melanoma is doubling every 10 years, and that one in every 82 women and one in every 58 men will develop cutaneous melanoma during their lifetimes.