Ocular melanoma, or “OM” for short, is the most common eye cancer found in adults. It is diagnosed in about 2,500 adults every year in the United States, making it also one of the rarest forms of eye cancer. It occurs when eye pigment cells’ DNA is mutated causing them to multiply out of control and collect within the eye.
It is not clear why eye melanomas develop. We do know that people born with certain growths in or on the eye, as well as those with lighter colored eyes, are at a greater risk for developing ocular melanoma. Some other causes may be increased by exposure to sunlight or artificial sunlight (tanning beds), having certain inherited skin conditions, or simply older age.
A recent development of OM has occurred close to home in Huntersville, NC as well as in past students of Auburn University in Alabama. 18 cases of OM were recently diagnosed in Huntersville while an astonishing 36 cases of OM, maybe more, have been diagnosed in patients that have graduated from Auburn University. This is incredibly unheard of for this rare disease. Scientists don’t know why the cancer has struck so many people in these two towns, but they’re hoping to find out. More research is needed on this form of cancer to help prevent it and hopefully one day, find a cure.
If you or someone you know have ocular melanoma, and are scheduled to have an enucleation surgery, there is hope to restore your image after surgery with a custom fit and fabricated prosthetic eye. If you would like to speak with a board certified ocularist today about prosthetic eye services, please contact one of our office locations in the Charlotte, NC or Mt. Pleasant, SC area and schedule your free consultation appointment.
For more information about the aforementioned development of ocular melanoma in Hunstersville and past Auburn University students, visit the original article here: