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Eye tumors are rare, but they pose a serious threat. This disease can lead to eye loss and even death. If the treatment is started on time, eye cancer can be cured. Moreover, foreign ophthalmologists offer their patients such treatment strategies that will allow them to get rid of the tumour and at the same time preserve vision. This task is achieved by brachytherapy.
- Eye brachytherapy
- Indications and contraindications for eye brachytherapy
- How is the procedure carried out?
- Rehabilitation after eye brachytherapy
- Where can I undergo eye brachytherapy?
- Prices for eye brachytherapy in different countries
Until recently, eye tumors were treated only by surgery. However, this treatment method did not meet the expectations of doctors fully. First, enucleation (removal) of the eye significantly worsened the quality of life of a patient. Second, the operation did not guarantee the exclusion of the risk of tumor metastasis. This prompted ophthalmic oncologists to look for new treatment methods against eye cancer. Brachytherapy is currently one of the most effective treatment techniques for eye tumors.
What is brachytherapy? This is a method of radiation therapy during which the radiation source is located in the immediate vicinity of the organ affected by the tumor. In eye brachytherapy, the special ophthalmic applicator is placed on the surface of the eyeball. The ophthalmic applicator is a titanium or gold plate with radioactive grains on its inner surface. Isotopes of iodine, ruthenium or palladium are used as a radiation source.
In other words, brachytherapy in ophthalmology ensures targeted irradiation of the eye tumor. Cancer cells die under the influence of ionizing radiation. At the same time, due to the short radius of radiation, adjacent healthy tissues are practically not affected by radiation.
The main advantages of eye brachytherapy over surgery and external beam radiation therapy are:
- High efficiency of the procedure
- Increased survival rate of patients with eye tumors
- The opportunity to preserve the eye and vision
Indications and contraindications for eye brachytherapy
Brachytherapy is the most effective and sparing treatment for eye tumors. This treatment method is suitable for both adults and children.
Brachytherapy is performed in the following eye neoplasms:
- Uveal melanoma is the most common malignant tumor of the eye in adults
- Retinoblastoma is the most common malignant tumor of the eye in children
- Choroidal hemangioma is a benign eye tumor (it does not spread metastasis); the danger of hemangioma is that the tumor grows very quickly and can lead to vision loss
It should be noted that despite the significant advantages of brachytherapy, this treatment method still has its limitations. In particular, brachytherapy for eye melanoma can only be performed under the following conditions:
- Single tumor focus in the eye
- Tumor thickness is no more than 5 mm
- Tumor diameter is no more than 14 mm
Brachytherapy is not performed in tumors exceeding the above mentioned sizes, tumor extension outside the sclera, and the presence of distant metastases.
How is the procedure carried out?
Brachytherapy is carried out in the Department of Ophthalmic Oncology. A patient stays in the hospital for 5-7 days.
Stages of brachytherapy:
- Preparatory stage. A patient undergoes examination. According to the results of diagnostics, the doctors specify the location and size of the tumor, and then calculate the required radiation dose.
- Ophthalmic applicator implantation. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia. The doctor sutures the ophthalmic applicator to the sclera of the eye directly over the tumor. The patient stays in the hospital for 4-7 days as long as the healing effect is carried out.
- Removal of the ophthalmic applicator. The manipulation is carried out under local anesthesia. The doctor removes the ophthalmic applicator from the eyeball, after which the normal position of the eye tissues is restored. The patient is discharged from the hospital the next day.
After brachytherapy, it is necessary to visit an ophthalmologist regularly and undergo an examination. Tumor resorption may take 3-6 months. During this time, the tumor will gradually decrease in size and be replaced by scar tissue.
Rehabilitation after eye brachytherapy
The patients may experience some discomfort after eye brachytherapy. In particular, dryness and redness of the eye may occur during the first week after the procedure.
Rehabilitation after brachytherapy will be much faster if you follow these recommendations:
- Put anti-inflammatory drops in the eyes
- Flush eyes with saline
- Do not rub eyelids
- Avoid direct eye contact with water (temporarily refrain from swimming in pools and natural water basins)
Where can I undergo eye brachytherapy?
If you are interested in eye brachytherapy, we recommend you to pay attention to the leading foreign onco-ophthalmological clinics. Ophthalmologists in these clinics are experts in brachytherapy methods. They accurately calculate the required dose of irradiation to the eye, which ultimately allows them to achieve the maximum therapeutic effect with minimal risk of complications.
Leading ocular oncology clinics are located in the following countries:
Prices for eye brachytherapy in different countries are as follows:
Residents of CIS countries have an opportunity to undergo brachytherapy in the best foreign clinics. The medical tourism operator Booking Health will help them with this. The company will arrange a treatment abroad as soon as possible. At the same time, Booking Health is ready to offer patients the most favorable costs for a treatment by avoiding additional coefficients and overpricing for foreign patients. Please, leave a request on the website and our specialist will call you back within 24 hours to clarify the details of the medical program.
Choose treatment abroad and you will for sure get the best results!
Author: Dr. Nadezhda Ivanisova