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Intraocular melanoma is a disease in which malignant (cancer) cells form in the tissues of the eye. Intraocular melanoma begins in the middle of 3 layers of the wall of the eye. The outer layer includes the white sclera (the "white of the eye") and the clear cornea at the front of the eye. The inner layer has a lining of nerve tissue, called the retina, which senses light and sends images along the optic nerve to the brain.
The middle layer, where intraocular melanoma forms, is called the uvea or uveal tract, and has 3 main parts:
The iris is the colored area at the front of the eye (the "eye color"). It can be seen through the clear cornea. The pupil is in the center of the iris and it changes size to let more or less light into the eye.
The ciliary body is a ring of tissue with muscle fibers that change the size of the pupil and the shape of the lens. It is found behind the iris. Changes in the shape of the lens help the eye focus. The ciliary body also makes the clear fluid that fills the space between the cornea and the iris.
The choroid is the layer of blood vessels that bring oxygen and nutrients to the eye. Most intraocular melanomas begin in the choroid.
Possible signs of intraocular melanoma:
A dark spot on the iris.
A change in the shape of the pupil.
A change in vision. Intraocular Melanoma Source: National Cancer Institute, U.S. National Institutes of Health. www.cancer.gov LifeART Collection Images Copyright © 1989-2001 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, MD Ciliary body Ciliary fibers Cornea Iris Lens Retina Vitreous
humor Optic nerve Choroid Cilia (Eyelashes) Sclera Iris Pupil Palpebrae