Follow-up after treatment for eye cancer

Follow-up after treatment is an important part of cancer care. Follow-up for eye cancer is often shared among the cancer specialists (oncologists, ophthalmologist, radiation therapist, etc.) and your family doctor. Your healthcare team will work with you to decide on follow-up care to meet your needs.

Don’t wait until your next scheduled appointment to report any new symptoms and symptoms that don’t go away. Tell your healthcare team if you have:

  • changes in your vision
  • any changes to the way your eye looks

Eye cancer most often comes back (recurs) years after diagnosis. There is a 50% chance that eye cancer will come back within 15 years of being diagnosed. You will have follow-up for many years after having treatment for eye cancer.

Schedule for follow-up visits

Follow-up visits for eye cancer are usually scheduled:

  • 2–3 months after initial treatment
  • every 3–6 months for the first 5 years
  • every 6–12 months after 5 years

During follow-up visits

During a follow-up visit, your healthcare team will usually ask questions about the side effects of treatment and how you’re coping.

Your doctor may do a physical exam, including:

  • an eye exam and vision test (if the eye hasn’t been removed)
  • feeling your neck and abdomen for signs of swelling

Tests are often part of follow-up care. You may have:

  • blood tests to watch for signs that the cancer has spread to the liver
  • imaging tests such as a CT scan, an MRI, a chest x-ray, a PET scan or an ultrasound to see if the cancer has come back or spread
  • lumbar puncture to look for lymphoma cells in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) if you had lymphoma of the eye

If the cancer has come back, you and your healthcare team will discuss a plan for your treatment and care.

Questions to ask about follow-up

To make the decisions that are right for you, ask your healthcare team questions about follow-up.

Expert review and references