What is ciliary body melanoma?

Updated: Mar 03, 2020
  • Author: Enrique Garcia-Valenzuela, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: Andrew A Dahl, MD, FACS  more...
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Answer

Answer

Ciliary body melanoma (see the image below) is a rare tumor. It is encountered approximately one tenth as often as is choroidal melanoma. See Choroidal Melanoma for complete information on this topic.

Transpupillary photograph of ciliary body melanoma Transpupillary photograph of ciliary body melanoma.

See The Case of the Middle-Aged Woman with Sudden Unilateral Vision Loss, a Critical Images slideshow, to help identify and treat malignant intraocular tumors.

Ciliary body melanoma is a subtype of uveal melanoma, the most common primary malignant tumor of the eye. Uveal melanomas are the most common primary intraocular malignancies and the second most common type of primary malignant melanoma in the body. They can be classified as anterior uveal melanomas when the tumor arises in the iris and as posterior uveal melanomas when it arises in either the choroid or the ciliary body. Intraocular melanomas can involve 2 uveal structures simultaneously, such as in ciliochoroidal melanoma. See the images below.

Transpupillary photograph of ciliary body melanoma Transpupillary photograph of ciliary body melanoma.
Fundus photograph of a large ciliary body melanoma Fundus photograph of a large ciliary body melanoma.

The ocular tissue where these tumors arise, the uvea, is a densely pigmented layer that lies for the most part between the sclera and the retina. The uvea is subdivided into the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. The ciliary body is located between the iris and the ora serrata. It has a specialized function in the uveal tract; it produces aqueous humor, facilitates trabecular outflow, intervenes in alteration of the shape of the crystalline lens during accommodation, and secretes hyaluronic acid into the vitreous.


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