There used to be only one option for treating choroidal melanoma: enucleation, or the complete removal of the eye. In the mid-1980’s, UCLA physicians helped organize the seminal NIH-NEI Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS), which demonstrated the effectiveness of episcleral plaque radiation therapy compared to enucleation in the treatment of choroidal melanoma. This technique of localized radiation (called brachytherapy) has provided life-saving treatmentwhile preserving the eyes of hundreds of patients from around the world treated by UCLA over a decade of experience.
Episcleral plaque brachytherapy requires the active teamwork of ophthalmologists, radiation oncologists and physicists. Specially arranged radioactive seeds (125-Iodine) are designed by our radiation oncology department to provide doses that conform precisely to tumors of various shapes and sizes. Then, utilizing intraoperative ultrasound guidance, these plaques are skillfully implanted by our colleagues at Jules Stein Eye Institute. UCLA is also at the cutting edge of research related to ocular melanoma. We are studying the molecular basis of ocular melanoma, as well as developing innovative methods for early detection of the spread of disease.
Our Expert Radiation Oncologists: