Choroid melanomas are tumours that arise within the eye. They develop from the choroid, a highly vascular layer that is rich in melanocytes and located behind the retina. Tumour growth can therefore cause a detached retina. This frequently leads to an acute disturbance of the patient's vision. Depending on the size of the tumour, choroid melanomas are either just observed or treated with radiotherapy or radiosurgery. In cases of very large and prominent choroid melanomas, it is frequently necessary to enucleate (remove) the affected eye. Alternatively, there is the option of radiosurgical treatment using the Gamma Knife. In many cases, this allows the eye to be preserved. The decision to perform radiosurgery is taken solely by an interdisciplinary team at an experienced ophthalmology centre. Optimum results are currently obtained in conjunction with immediate endoresection of the tumour, which is rendered inactive during radiosurgery.
The patient's ophthalmologist (eye doctor) decides on what type of treatment is suitable.
As radiosurgical treatment requires the eyeball to be immobilise, the treatment is performed in collaboration with the ophthalmologist. He/she applies a local anaesthetic to the patient's eye. This temporarily paralyses the eye muscles and therefore the eye cannot move during the Gamma Knife treatment. After approximately 2=3 hours, the anaesthetic wears off and the eye functions normally again.
The check-ups are performed by the ophthalmologist.
Since the lens of the eye is sensitive to radiation, later on, the lens may become cloudy (cataract) With modern surgical techniques, it is possible to remedy this side-effect in a brief out-patient procedure. In addition to this side-effect, there may also be damage to the retina and optic nerve.