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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 01/26/00
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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UC Eye Tumor Center Provides Latest Advances in Eye Cancer Treatment

Cincinnati--January is national "Eye Care Health" month and for the first time, Tristate residents have local access to the latest medical advances in the treatment of eye cancer.

James Augsburger, MD, Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology at the University of Cincinnati (UC), says "Many improvements in eye care during the last several decades are now available to people in the Tristate. For example, we can treat a malignant tumor in an eye with a radioactive implant (plaque) that is implanted surgically and then removed after just a few days." The implant procedure, called radioactive eye plaque therapy, is less traumatic than conventional treatment (surgical removal of the entire affected eye), but is as effective in preventing the spread of cancer and death. "We can also use special ophthalmic lasers to destroy selected smaller malignant tumors within the eye," says Augsburger. Both plaque radiation therapy and laser therapy enable physicians to preserve good vision in the patient's affected eye.

Another advance in eye tumor care is the use of fine needle aspiration biopsy to confirm the diagnosis of intraocular (within the eyeball) tumors before treatment. This provides a more precise diagnosis than previous methods.

"Until recently, none of these advanced procedures were available in the Greater Cincinnati area," says Augsburger. Patients had to travel to larger eye centers in cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, or New York City for such procedures. Since becoming Chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology last year, Augsburger and his colleagues at the UC College of Medicine have developed a full service Eye Tumor Center with all of the capabilities of the larger centers. The most commonly encountered eye cancers in the Eye Tumor Center are malignant melanoma of the uvea, retinoblastoma (a genetic childhood eye cancer), and metastatic carcinoma to the eye from another primary site such as the breast or lung.

Over the next several years, Augsburger and his colleagues will be working to develop innovative new therapies for macular degeneration and other ocular disorders that are currently lacking effective treatment. For more information about macular degeneration or the Eye Tumor Center, contact Dr. Augsburger at (513) 584-2365 or by email at

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