Living With OM

Ocular melanoma is a lethal disease but many patients go on post-diagnosis to live long and healthy lives. Two commonalities among all of these patients who "buck the trend" of the often discouraging statistics are (1) being a proactive self-advocate and (2) living a healthy lifestyle which can involve a combination of de-stressing, excercise and diet changes.

OMF encourages anyone dealing with OM to take charge of their own treatment and be proactive in scheduling regular follow-ups with their ophthalmologist and oncologist. Knowledge is power.

Vision Issues

Many patients treat radiation retinopathy and associated vision loss with adjuvant therapies such as Avastin, but partial or full vision loss may be your new normal.

If you've undergone an enucleation or have severe vision loss following your plaque therapy, adjusting to full or even partial monocular vision takes time, so try not to get discouraged.
Support services from social workers, therapists and loved ones may be helpful when adjusting to the loss of vision. It is normal to experience a period of grief due to these new changes and challenges. Always remember that there are people trained to assist you during this time.

Losing vision in one of your eyes takes some adjustment, both physically and emotionally. It takes time, so be gentle on yourself during this adjustment period.
Depth perception might be affected in some of the following ways:
• judging distances while walking and using the stairs
• catching objects in the air
• judging the heights of steps and the widths of entrances
• pouring liquids into containers
• judging how close people are as they move in and out of your field of vision

Double vision may also become a challenge and is a known side effect of radiation therapy. Your brain will eventually start to assist you in compensating for the change in vision. Most day-to-day tasks and activities should fall back into place after an adjustment period. Be sure to work with your optometrist if you use corrective lenses to ensure your remaining eye is receiving the assistance it needs.
Driving is still an option but be patient as you adjust to your new condition. Take the time to use your mirrors, become comfortable with the size of your vehicle and the blind spots that may occur while driving. Stopping, turning and changing lanes could be more challenging than they were before.