Histologic cell type, largest tumor diameter and tumor location have traditionally been regarded as the leading predictors of survival for uveal melanoma. Morphological cell typing is, however, subjective to variations in interpretation. More objective classification parameters have emerged from extensive cytomorphometrical and DNA flow cytometrical studies. For patients with uveal melanoma there is no effective therapy if metastases have developed, and the median survival after clinical diagnosis of hepatic metastases is extremely poor. Current research focuses on the mechanisms underlying the metastatic process, including tumor vasculature, cytogenetics, oncogene activation, immunology, melanoma-associated antigens and tumor cell migration (cell-cell and cell-matrix interaction). Several new prognostic parameters have emerged from these studies, such as closed vascular patterns, loss of one chromosome 3, and different indices of cell proliferation. Furthermore, considerable genotypical and phenotypical differences have been found between uveal and cutaneous melanoma. In prospective studies on large series of melanomas a combination of histopathological and/or clinical prognostic parameters might be selected with high sensitivity and specificity, providing a way of selecting patients at high risk of developing metastatic disease, who might be eligible for adjuvant therapy.