It’s a rare diagnosis, but if your eyes are constantly exposed to UV radiation, your chances of getting a melanoma in the eye are greatly increased. Ocular melanoma tumor cases are uncommon, but about 2,000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Living in Florida, we need to be especially conscientious about preventing this form of cancer, due to our excessive exposure to the sun.
Types of UV Radiation:
The reason we hear so much advice on wearing sunscreen, sunglasses, and avoiding over sun exposure between 10:00 am to 4 pm, is due in large part to the sun’s harmful UV rays during the time when the sun is the highest in the sky.
UV radiation has multiple levels; for example, UVC rays are the most harmful to the skin and eyes, but the ozone layer blocks many of the rays. UVA rays play a huge role in causing skin damage and aging. The wavelengths of UVA rays are long and are therefore less harmful than UVB rays. UVB rays are extremely damaging to the skin and eyes and can cause cancer. UVB rays are shorter wavelengths and consequently can even penetrate through glass, so when your driving in your car, or sitting by a window at work, the UVB harmful rays can harm you. It’s best to always protect yourself by wearing sunscreen, protective clothing, and sunglasses.
Protecting Your Eyes:
Sunglasses are the fashionable accessories that can indeed help to prevent a melanoma from forming in the eyes. Your eyes need protection from both UVA and UVB rays.
When choosing sunglasses, some cheap versions may actually increase your risk by easily allowing harmful rays to filter through. It’s important to choose frames that cover your eyes securely. If they don’t fit your face properly, then UV radiation can penetrate through the gaps and openings.
Sunglasses Should Have one or More of the Following Options:
• 100% UV protection
• Polarized lenses
• Polycarbonate lenses
• UV coated lenses
Ocular Melanoma (eye tumor/cancer):
Your eye is made up of three stratums, the outer, inner and middle layers. The middle layer is where most melanomas form. They typically occur in the uveal tract, which houses the iris, pupil, muscle fibers and layer of blood vessels that provides nutrients to reach the retina. This layer of blood vessels is called the choroid and is where most intraocular melanomas are found.
During your regular dilated eye exam, an ophthalmologist can usually detect the tumors if they are present. Some of the symptoms of ocular melanoma are a dark spot on the iris (color portioned eye), blurry vision, changes in the size of pupils or their shape, pain, redness, or consistent irritation.
If you or a loved one have any eye symptoms or are in need of your yearly eye exam, please schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist immediately. Problems with sight, such as macular degeneration, retinal disorders or melanoma need to be addressed and treated as soon as possible. Although the treatment options for ocular melanoma are limited, if caught early on, a resection (removal) of the tumor is the standard of care.
A comprehensive dilated eye exam is critical for all patients. In high-risk patients, they may need the dilated exam several times per year. Don’t delay! The first step is to schedule the examination because early diagnosis can reduce vision loss significantly.
Ocala Eye is the largest, most experienced eye care practice in North Central Florida. Since Ocala Eye was founded in 1971, more people from Marion and surrounding counties trust their eyes to the ophthalmologists there than any other eye care group.
Ocala Eye is a patient-centered practice, with all of the decisions made based on the patient’s benefit and well-being. Their patients’ satisfaction reflects this philosophy. Ocala Eye has a passion for providing the highest level of complete eye care and aesthetic services.
Since Ocala Eye is the only truly comprehensive eye care practice in North Central Florida, patients no longer need to be referred out of town for their specialized eye care problems. Ocala Eye is the only ophthalmology practice in Marion County where you can be sure an eye surgeon is always on call, 24 hours a day, every day of the year.
If you or someone you love has developed eye irregularities, please make sure to schedule an appointment with an ophthalmologist immediately to help prevent any further damage to your eyesight.
To find out more, please call to schedule your appointment today.
Market Street At Heath Brook
4414 SW College Road, Ocala, FL 34474
1500 S.E. Magnolia Ext., Suite 106, Ocala, FL 34471
The Villages Office
1950 Laurel Manor Drive, Suite 250
The Villages, FL 32162
200 West Office
8520 S.W. State Road 200, Ocala, FL 34481
Ocala Eye Surgery Center
3330 S.W. 33rd Road, Ocala, FL 34474