Treatment & Management

Treatment goals for uveal melanoma

If you are being treated for uveal melanoma, your physician’s goals may include:

  • Assessing your individual risk of metastasis
  • Preventing local growth of the eye tumor and minimizing any damage to ocular tissues
  • Preserving as much of your vision as possible

The size and location of the eye tumor, your ability to undergo surgery, and personal preference are important factors that will help determine which treatment is best for you.

Treatment types

Graphic of radioactive disk placed on the eye

Eye-sparing radiation is the most common therapy

Radiation therapy is the most widely used, with about 80-90% of uveal melanoma patients receiving some form of radiation of the tumor. Plaque radiotherapy is the most common form, in which a radioactive disc, or plaque, is placed directly onto the surface of the eye to destroy the tumor. The process takes a couple of days and then the plaque is removed.

Graphic of radiation being directed at eye tumor

Proton beam therapy

Proton beam therapy is an alternative to plaque radiotherapy. In this treatment, small rings (clips) are placed around the edges of the eye tumor to direct the radiation beams and spare the surrounding healthy tissue.

Graphic of eye being prepared for removal


Enucleation, or removal of the eye, is performed in about 10% of patients. It is usually done when the tumor is too large to treat with radiation, has bled significantly, destroyed much of the eye tissue, or has spread beyond the eye.

Treatment options are considered highly effective at curing the primary tumor. Despite this, up to 50% of all patients will ultimately develop metastatic disease.

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