The Ophthalmic Oncology Center, under the direction of Dr. Tara A. McCannel, is renowned for its expertise in teaching, research, and clinical management of adult posterior segment tumors. Established in the early 1980s by the Institute's Founding Director, Dr. Bradley R. Straatsma, the Center is internationally recognized for the diagnosis and management of ocular melanoma. The Center serves as a hub for national, long-term studies investigating ocular melanoma, and played an important role in the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study sponsored by the National Eye Institute.

The Center's clinical goal is successful treatment of the primary eye tumor. Patients diagnosed with ocular melanoma may be offered highly sophisticated treatment plans coordinated with UCLA radiation physicists and radiation oncologists. Patients may also qualify to participate in clinical research studies in partnership with the UCLA Health Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Center's primary research goal is to gain a fundamental understanding of the molecular biology of metastatic ocular melanoma.

In addition to providing genetic prognostic information to patients on their risk of tumor metastasis, the Center has identified key genes associated with metastatic tumors.