Ocular Oncology

Ophthalmic oncology is the specialty that deals with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer affecting the eye, cancer of the orbit (eye socket), and cancer of the eyelids. This service at UNC is an unprecedented, state-of-the-art, comprehensive cancer-treatment center working in conjunction with the UNC Comprehensive Cancer Center. The Ophthalmic Cancer Center was established in 2001 to provide the most up-to-date therapy for ophthalmic cancer patients in a caring and supportive atmosphere. Through a multi-disciplinary approach, patients are given immediate access as needed to ancillary testing and consultation with oncologists, pathologists, radiologists, radiation-therapy specialists, geneticists, head and neck surgeons, neurological surgeons and Mohs' dermatologists in order to ensure the highest standards of medical care.

We provide a toll-free patient hotline and referral service to assist patients with clinical and surgical scheduling. In addition, the Ophthalmic Oncology Service at UNC sponsors ongoing research and patient-education seminars. The newly formed "tumor registry" promises to track population trends and incidence of newly diagnosed ocular cancers throughout North Carolina and the United States. Through a series of quarterly conferences, the Ophthalmic Oncology Center provides educational and information updates for eye physicians and oncologists throughout the region.

Conditions treated include intraocular choroidal malignant melanoma, intraocular metastases, retinoblastoma, orbital tumors, malignant eyelid lesions and ocular surface tumors. Services include genetic counseling, fundus photography, intravenous fluorescein angiography, ocular and orbital ultrasonography, metastatic surveillance, melanoma vaccine, radioactive plaque therapy, sentinel lymph node biopsy, intralesional, topical and systemic chemotherapy, conjunctival reconstruction, cryotherapy, embolization therapy, enucleation, external-beam irradiation, Mohs' micrographic surgery, eyelid reconstruction, orbital exenteration, transpupillary thermotherapy, and tumor surveillance in siblings with genetic risk for retinoblastoma. Brain tumors affecting vision and eye movements are diagnosed and treated in conjunction with the Neuro-oncology Program of the UNC Department of Neurosurgery.

Ophthalmic oncology is a primary focus of Jonathan J. Dutton, M.D., Ph.D. Other members of the service include Travis A. Meredith, M.D. and John D. Wright, Jr., M.D. Together, they provide a unified, comprehensive, and professional approach to eye cancer patients unequalled in this region.