Clusters of Rare Ocular Cancer in North Carolina and Alabama

In the last year, you may have heard about a rise in the number of eye cancers called ocular melanomas in certain cities in the United States, including Huntersville, NC, and Auburn, AL. The incidence of ocular melanoma is about 5 people in 1 million but in years past, doctors have seen an unusual amount of cases sprout up in Huntersville (at least 18) and Auburn (at least 36 people). What was also striking is that the new cases were in patients younger than what we usually see. The city of Huntersville has been working hard by employing genetic and environmental analyses but has been unable to identify a causative link or an offending agent.

Ocular Melanomas

In light of these tragic cases, I wanted to discuss ocular melanoma and give insight into the best practices to ensure good eye health for your lifetime. Ocular melanomas are rare but have devastating effects ranging from loss of vision to loss of the eye to loss of life. This cancer arises from melanocytes (cells that make the melanin pigment) which are located throughout our body (including our eyes). Melanomas can affect anyone but tend to occur in fair-skinned, light-eyed individuals with an average onset of 55 years old. If not identified and managed quickly, melanomas can spread elsewhere in the body and have a poor prognosis.

Eye Exam

Remember that ocular melanomas are extremely rare, but there is no reason they or any other eye disease should go undetected. Since many ocular disease processes can be asymptomatic, the best practice is to get a dilated eye exam with a peripheral retinal exam annually

These cases in the news:

Doctors Stumped By Rare Eye Cancer Cases In North Carolina, Alabama

Waiting for answers as rare eye cancer cases in small NC town continue to grow

Mysterious eye cancer that baffled Huntersville is now cropping up two states away  

If you enjoyed this artice about Ocular Melanoma, be sure to check our our article on Ocular Rosacea.

A Little Bit About…

A Little Bit About…

Ashley Iketani-Castillo, OD, MS

Dr. Iketani is a Florida native who has a passion for managing ocular disease. She views each patient as a whole person and believes the eyes are a window to a patient’s systemic health. She also has a passion for fitting rigid lenses on patients with corneal disease to help them obtain their best vision.

Dr. Iketani graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry where she completed internships at the Hefner Veteren’s Affairs hospital in Charlotte, NC and The Metrolina Association for the Blind which focused on Low Vision rehabilitation. Prior to pursuing optometry, she obtained a Masters of Science which focused on developmental genetics and worked as a technician in a lab that researched breast cancer.

Dr. Iketani currently resides in Cincinnati where her husband is starting his pediatrician fellowship,with their two cats and baby boy.

Disclaimer

Information contained within this Web site is intended solely for educational purposes and is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice relative to your specific medical condition or question. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health care provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition. Only your physician can provide specific diagnoses and therapies. By using this Web site, you agree to this Medical Disclaimer.

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205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

205 E Council Street, Suite B
Salisbury, North Carolina 28144

Phone: (704) 310-5002
Fax: (704) 310-5003
kristin@salisburyeyecareandeyewear.com

 

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Hours:
Monday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday: 10:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Wednesday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Thursday: 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Friday: 9:00 AM – 1:00 PM

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