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Ocular melanoma is melanoma of the eye

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Updated: Friday, Aug 27,2010, 9:34:18 PM
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Ocular melanoma is melanoma of the eye. Melanoma is a cancer that develops from cells called melanocytes. The melanocytes produce melanin pigment of dark, who is responsible for the color of our skin. These cells are found in many places in our body, including skin, hair, and the interior of internal organs, including the eye.

The choroid is part of the lining of the eyeball. It is dark (pigmented) to prevent light that is reflected in the interior of the eye. The ciliary body extends from the choroid and focuses the eye by changing the shape of the lens. The iris is the colored disc clearly visible on the front of the eye that controls the amount of light entering the eye. All these structures are colored with melanin.

 In the eye itself, melanoma can develop in one of many places. Uveal melanoma is the most common type of ocular melanoma. This means that it occurs along the uveal tract of the eye (the darker circle on the diagram), which includes the choroid, the ciliary body and iris.

Most melanomas begin to grow in the skin, but it is also possible to start a melanoma in other parts of the body, like the eye.

Melanoma can also occur in the thin lining on the white of the eye (conjunctiva) or on the eyelid, but this is very rare. This is known as melanoma of the conjunctiva.

Ocular melanoma is the most common type of cancer affecting the eye, although generally it is still quite rare. Approximately 500 new cases of ocular melanoma are diagnosed in the UK each year. The incidence of ocular melanoma increases with age, and most cases are diagnosed in people in their 50s.

Tags: Ocular melanoma

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