What is the role of external beam irradiation in the treatment of 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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External beam irradiation with either protons or helium ions is a frequently used alternative method to treat medium-sized tumors (< 10 mm in height and 15 mm in diameter). Radiopaque tantalum rings are usually sutured to the sclera to serve as reference markers for alignment of the radiation beam. By causing irradiation-induced vessel damage, the tumor necroses and regresses. Treatment may be complicated with radiation cataract, dry eye syndrome, radiation retinopathy, and rubeosis iridis. Patients treated with this method may have a survival rate comparable to those treated with enucleation.

About 15% of eyes ultimately require enucleation, often because of neovascular glaucoma or local recurrence.

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