Sunday, April 5, 2015

Ocular Melanoma Information

Did you know that Ocular Melanoma (OM) is the most common form of cancer that occurs in the eye?  The facts and information may be surprising, but every year, approximately 2,500 American adults are diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma (OM), an aggressive malignant cancer that starts in the pigment cells that produce eye color. Most often it tends to occur in people with light skin pigmentation and with lighter blue or green eyes and who are over age 50. However, OM also can occur in individuals of every race and at any age.  OM is a silent killer because for about 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with OM, the cancer may is fatal as it quickly metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body. There are no early warning signs and in many cases Ocular Melanoma is diagnosed during a routine eye exam-further supporting the need to have regular scheduled eye exams. Once OM has developed, some people may experience blurred vision, a change in the shape of the pupil, flashing lights in their vision, loss of vision in the affected eye or a dark spot on the iris.

Ocular Melanoma Causes & Risks
Researchers have found that people with OM tend to have certain gene mutations, which could suggest there is a strong genetic component to the disease. However, they have not concluded that these abnormalities are the cause or whether there is a clear mechanism of genetic transmission. They believe there may be a connection between the development of OM and prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light, such as from tanning beds, but there is not significant research confirming this link either.

If you or someone you know is concerned about the risk of Ocular melanoma (OM) please be sure to schedule an eye exam at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham by calling 205-930-0930, visiting Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center in Birmingham is a leading eye care center located at UAB-Highlands, 1201 11th Avenue S, Suite 501, Birmingham, Alabama 35205 and staffed by UAB Medicine eye doctors Marc Michelson, M.D. and Tyler Hall, M.D.