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Eye Cancer

Why choose Ochsner Health for your eye cancer care?

The Ochsner Health cancer program provides outstanding oncology care to patients with primary intraocular cancer and secondary intraocular cancer across the Gulf South. Our collaborative, multidisciplinary team puts your needs at the center of all we do.

Ochsner eye cancer experts develop a customized treatment plan based on your type of eye cancer and unique medical history and needs. We provide second opinions and partner with outside oncologists and treatment facilities to ensure continuity of care. Our team also coordinates treatments, such as chemotherapy, close to your home.

We match you with a nurse navigator who can help guide you in your journey and connect you with the support services you need along the way.

Eye cancer is a very rare kind of cancer that starts somewhere in or on the eye (on the surface, on the iris, or within the eye beneath the retina) or in the skin of cells around the eye (the eyelid). Because it is so rare, it is best for a person diagnosed with eye cancer to seek treatment from someone who specializes in this field. Patients should ask their doctor to refer them to an eye cancer specialist.

There are two different types of eye cancer. Cancers that are within the eye itself are called intraocular cancers. These cancers start in the eye. Secondary intraocular cancers start in another part of the body and spread to the eye.

The most common intraocular cancers in adults are:

  • Melanoma: tumors that grow in the colored part of the eye or iris tumors
  • Non-Hodgkin lymphoma
  • Basal cell carcinoma: the most common type of eyelid cancer. Others include squamous cell carcinoma, sebaceous cell carcinoma and malignant melanoma
  • Conjunctival tumors are tumors that grow on the surface of the eye and include squamous carcinomas, malignant melanomas, and lymphomas.
  • Choroid tumors: tumors that grow in the layer of blood vessels that support the retina. They include melanoma, choroidal nevus, and choroidal osteoma

    The most common primary intraocular cancers in children are:

    • Retinoblastoma, a cancer that starts in cells in the retina
    • Medulloepithelioma, the second most common type, which is extremely rare

    Eye melanoma usually doesn't show symptoms unless the cancer grows in certain parts of the eye or becomes more advanced. If you have any of these symptoms, see a doctor right away so the cause can be found and treated.

    Symptoms of eye cancers may include:

    • Blurry vision or sudden loss of vision
    • Spots in the field of vision or flashes of light
    • Losing part of your field of sight
    • A growing dark spot on the colored part of the eye (iris)
    • Change in the size or shape of the pupil
    • Change in position of the eyeball within its socket
    • Bulging of the eye
    • Change in the way the eye moves within the socket

    Pain is rare unless the tumor has grown extensively outside the eye.

    Treatment options and recommendations depend on several factors, including:

    • The type and stage of eye melanoma
    • Possible side effects, including the loss of vision in the eye being treated
    • Status of vision in the unaffected eye
    • The patient’s preferences and overall health

    Types of treatment options include:

    • Active surveillance
    • Radiation therapy
    • Surgery
    • Laser therapy
    • Immunotherapy

    Ochsner takes a multidisciplinary approach to eye cancer care. Our medical team includes:

    • Medical oncologists

    • Oncology nurses

    • Radiation oncologists

    • Surgical oncologists

    • Reconstructive/plastic surgeon

    Even if you see only one doctor, the entire team is involved in your care. The team meets weekly to discuss current patients and their treatment plans to ensure the best possible care.

    We also work closely with other Ochsner providers and facilities across the Gulf South to provide high-quality, holistic care that works for you.

    At Ochsner, we know that diagnosis and treatment are only a part of the cancer journey. We offer integrative oncology services to support your overall health and wellness during and after cancer treatment.

    A nurse navigator will be with you at every step to help you schedule appointments and address the complexities and questions that come with a eye cancer diagnosis.

    Your care team will connect you to additional services based on your unique needs, including:

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    Map of Ochsner-affiliated facilities that provide services related to Eye Cancer

    Eye Cancer Locations