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Common Tumors and Treatments

Tumors Inside the Eye


Choroidal Nevus

A pigmented area that develops in the choroid (the vascular layer under the retina). These areas should be monitored by your eye doctor closely, as they can sometimes grow and potentially cause problems or become malignant (cancerous).

Iris Nevus

A pigmented area that develops in the Iris (the color area in the front of the eye). These areas are observable by the patient but should also be monitored regularly by your eye doctor for possible growth or changes.

Choroidal Hemangioma

A type of vascular tumor that can be either congenital or acquired. While these tumors are non-cancerous, they can sometimes affect vision and should be monitored for any potential need for treatment.


(Congenital Hypertrophy of the Retina Pigment Epithelium)
A area of thicker than normal RPE.  Though benign, these areas are often similar in appearance to Uveal Melanoma and should be evaluated. They can also grow over time and should be regularly monitored by your eye doctor.
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Uveal Melanoma

Uveal Melanoma is rare but is the most common form of eye cancer for adults. It is caused by mutations in the pigment-producing melanocytes, found in the vascular uvea layer. 
  • Choroidal Melanoma - Ocular melanoma often begins in the part of the uvea called the choroid, the vascular layer between the white part of the eye (sclera) and the Retina.
  • Ciliary Body Melanoma  - 
  • Iris Melanoma -  This is melanoma that begins in the colored part of the eye, the iris. Often beginning as a raised freckle on the iris called an iris nevus.  An iris nevus can also be non-cancerous, and the ocular oncologist can discuss whether or not treatment or monitoring is the best course of action.

Uveal Metastasis

  • Choroidal
  • Iris
    Carcinomas from distant sites such as breast, lung, or other areas can spread to the eye. These cancers can be treated with therapy in the eye and along with therapy from a medical oncologist.

Vitreoretinal Lymphoma

A form of primary, central nervous system lymphoma that predominantly affects the eye. This can be treated locally or systemically in conjunction with a medical oncologist.



Tumors Outside the Eye

Tumors may occur on the surface of the eye due to overexposure to the sun and other causes



A pinguecula is a deposit of protein, fat, or calcium. and looks like a yellow spot or bump on the conjunctiva. It often appears on the side of the eye near your nose and is thought to be causedby a combination of dry eyes and exposure to wind, dust, and ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun.


Pterygium is a growth of fleshy tissue that may start as a pinguecula. It can remain small or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea and affect vision.


A common, colored growth made of melanocytes found in the iris or behind the retina.  These spots, or freckles, are often harmless, but like any freckle, can develop into cancer and should be monitored regularly by your eye doctor.



Primary Acquired Melanosis

Though often benign, the flat, brown lesions on the conjuctiva are also the precursor to conjunctival melanoma, especially in cases of abnormal cellular structure (cellular atypia). Pigmented lesions on the conjunctiva should be examined and may require biopsy to determine if the lesion is Primary Acquired Melanosis.

Conjunctival Melanoma

Just as in skin melanoma, conjunctival melanoma is produced in cells that produce melanin.  Conjucitval melanoma, often arises from already existing pigmented lesions on the conjunctiva such as a conjuntival nevus or melanosis but can also develop spontaneously.  This type of lesion is rare but can be serious, as it can more easily spread to other areas of the body.

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Squamous Cell Carcinoma (OSSN, Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia)

This type of growth can develop in many different parts of the eye, including the eyelid, conjunctiva and lacrimal sac. Depending on size and location, Squamouse Cell Carcinoma can be treated with surgery, cryotheraphy or radiation therapy.

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