Canis ISSN: 2398-2942

Eye: intraocular neoplasia

Contributor(s): David L Williams, James Oliver


  • Cause:primary (eg melanoma) vs secondary (eg lymphoma).
  • Signs: change in appearance of eye, pain, intraocular hemorrhage, glaucoma, uveitis, retinal detachment.
  • Diagnosis: ophthalmic examination, ocular ultrasound, cytology, histopathology.
  • Treatment: enucleation/exenteration, chemotherapy, tumor excision.
  • Prognosis: depends on histopathological diagnosis.



  • Primary:
    • Melanomas (most common).
    • Ciliary body (iridociliary) adenoma and adenocarcinoma Ciliary body tumor adenoma - Labrador 9 years Ciliary body tumor adenocarcinoma - Greyhound 7 years Ciliary body tumor adenocarcinoma - Staffordshire Bull Terrier.
    • Medulloepithelioma.
    • Spindle cell tumor.
  • Secondary:


  • Melanomas Skin: melanoma :
    • Melanocytoma:
      • Benign anterior uveal melanoma Eye: uveal melanoma :
        • Metastasis <5%.
      • Limbal melanoma.
      • Choroidal melanoma Ciliary body tumor melanoma - Afghan 7 years Ciliary body tumor malignant melanoma - Labrador 2 years.
    • Malignant melanoma:
      • May arise within eye and metastasize to the eye from more distant sites.
      • Primary malignant melanomas:
        • Metastasis ~25%.
  • Iridociliary epithelial tumors:
    • Adenomas and adenocarcinomas.
    • Both tend to behave in benign way within eye.
  • Medulloepitheliomas:
    • Arise from inner layer of optic cup.
    • Congenital.
    • Usually clinicall benign.
  • Lymphomas Lymphoma :
    • Usually as a result of metastasis to eye, rarely seen as primary intraocular tumor.
    • Systemic lymphoma may also involve the eye in ~35% cases Iris tumor multicentric lymphosarcoma - English Springer Spaniel.
    • Often bilateral.


  • Melanomas and iridociliary tumors tend to be slow growing over months/years.
  • Spindle cell tumors and lymphoma are aggressive (weeks).


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Further Reading


Refereed papers

  • Recent references from PubMed and VetMedResource.
  • Beckwith-Cohen B, Bentley E, Dubielzig R R (2015) Outcome of iridociliary epithelial tumour biopsies in dogs: a retrospective study. Vet Rec 176 (6), 147 PubMed.
  • Wiggans K T, Skorupski K A, Reilly C M et al (2014) Presumed solitary intraocular or conjunctival lymphoma in dogs and cats: 9 cases (1985-2013). JAVMA 244 (4), 460-470 PubMed.
  • Duke F D, Brudenall D K, Scott E M et al (2013) Metstatic uveal schwannoma of blue-eyed dogs. Vet Ophthalmol 16 Suppl 1, 141-144 PubMed.
  • Duke F D, Strong T D, Bentley E et al (2013) Canine ocular tumors following ciliary body ablation with intravitreal gentamicin. Vet Ophthalmol 16 (2), 159-162 PubMed.
  • Malho P, Dunn K, Donaldson D et al (2013) Investigation of prognostic indicators for human uveal melanoma as biomarkers of canine uveal melanoma metastasis. JSAP 54 (11), 584-593 PubMed.
  • Escanilla N, Leiva M, Ordeix L et al (2012) Uveodermatologic lymphoma in two young related Portugese water dogs. Vet Ophthalmol 15 (5), 345-350 PubMed.

Other sources of information

  • Gould D & McLellan G (2014)BSAVA Manual of Small Animal Ophthalmology.3rd edn.
  • Gelatt K N (2013)Veterinary Ophthalmology.5th edn. Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.