Anterior segment tumors: current concepts and innovations

Surv Ophthalmol. 2003 Nov-Dec;48(6):569-93. doi: 10.1016/j.survophthal.2003.08.001.


The most common anterior segment tumors are primary neuroepithelial cysts, uveal melanomas, metastatic tumors, and benign tumors. In the majority of cases, the diagnosis can be made utilizing a careful clinical history and ocular examination. Ultrasound examination (low and high frequency) has become an indispensable tool used to determine tumor extension and involvement of the surrounding structures. In particular, high-frequency ultrasound has been used to uncover iris pigment epithelial cysts, to allow for the diagnosis of small ciliary body melanomas, and to measure tumors for plaque radiation planning. Whereas fluorescein angiography and computerized tomography have come to play a limited role, fine-needle aspiration biopsy has been found to be quite helpful in selected cases. Once the diagnosis is established, treatment decisions depend on the tumors' location, size, local extension, patterns of growth, and secondary complications. Most anterior segment tumors can be observed for growth prior to treatment. Other options include local resection (iridectomy, lamellar sclerouvectomy, or eye-wall resection) and radiation (ophthalmic plaque or external beam). Enucleation is typically employed if these eye- and vision-sparing treatments are not possible and for uncontrollable secondary glaucoma. This review examines the unique role of high-frequency ultrasonography for the diagnosis and treatment of anterior segment tumors as well as an overview of clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anterior Eye Segment / diagnostic imaging
  • Anterior Eye Segment / pathology*
  • Biopsy, Needle
  • Brachytherapy
  • Cysts / diagnostic imaging
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Cysts / therapy
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fluorescein Angiography
  • Humans
  • Ophthalmologic Surgical Procedures
  • Ultrasonography
  • Uveal Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Uveal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / therapy