Eye Cancer Treatments

Depending on your specific condition, your treatment for eye cancer may include a single treatment or a combination of therapies such as:

  • Plaque brachytherapy: This uses a small circular cap that emits low-dose gentle radiation specifically targeting the tumor. It is surgically placed and then removed after it has treated the tumor.
  • Proton therapy: A type of radiation therapy that uses protons (positively charged atomic particles) for more precise treatment. It is especially good at treating tumors that wrap around the optic nerve or that are large and irregularly shaped.
  • Laser therapy: This uses highly focused light beams to target cancer cells. Laser therapy may be used to treat some intraocular tumors, such as retinal hemangioblastomas or some cancers that have spread to the eye.
  • External beam radiation therapy: This uses high-energy X-rays to target cancer cells. It is effective for some forms of eye lymphoma and metastases to the eye.
  • Surgery: This is important for both diagnosis and treatment. Surgery is used to place a radiation plaque over a tumor or to place tantalum rings to guide a proton beam. Surgery is needed for fine needle aspiration biopsies for both diagnosis and assessing the risk of metastasis. Also, some eye surface tumors can be completely cut out with surgery. Types of surgery that remove eye tumors include:
    • Conjunctival biopsy or excision: Partial or complete removal of a tumor.
    • Iridectomy: Partial removal of the iris.
    • Iridocyclectomy: Partial removal of the iris and ciliary body.
    • Sclerouvectomy/endoresection: Removal of the choroidal tumor while keeping the eye.
    • Enucleation: Complete eye removal.
  • Chemotherapy: This uses anticancer medicines to treat cancer. Chemotherapy types are:
    • Intraocular: Medicine is injected directly into the eye. This allows for higher doses without affecting the rest of your body.
    • Intratumoral: Medicine is injected into the tumor to help destroy cancer cells.
    • Systemic: Medicine is injected into a vein or taken as a pill. It spreads throughout your body. Systemic chemotherapy treats cancer that may have spread to other parts of the body.
  • Targeted therapy: Medication that attacks specific parts of the cancer cells to kill them.
  • Immunotherapy: Medication that uses your immune system to kill cancer cells.


Eye cancer treatments are provided by a multidisciplinary team that includes:

  • Ophthalmic oncologists (physicians specially trained in diagnosing and treating eye cancer)
  • Radiation oncologists (physicians who use radiation to diagnose and treat cancer)
  • Medical physicists
  • Medical oncologists (physicians who use medication to treat cancer)
  • Neuro-oncologists (a physician specially trained in treating cancer in the brain and nervous system)
  • Cytologists (a physician who performs cell research)
  • Pathologists (a physician who studies body tissues and fluids)