Unveiling plans for a University of Auckland-led national study on ocular melanocytic lesions, CCLSNZ conference presenter Dr Joevy Lim said the results could have huge potential for better diagnosis, referral and treatment of ocular cancer in Aotearoa.
Given malignant ocular melanomas are rare, with international reported incidence of up to 11 patients per million per year, there are no gold standards for diagnosis or management and little is known about the true effects of UV (ultraviolet) light, Dr Lim told the audience. Following ethics approval and discussion with affected parties, the proposed study aims to collect data on melanocytic lesions from optometrists and ophthalmologists across New Zealand to understand the incidence better in New Zealand. Hopefully, this will allow the creation of a standardised referral document and development of artificial intelligence software to enhance telemedicine to better support clinicians and patients, especially in more remote areas or during lockdowns, said Dr Lim.
More information will be released later this year, inviting practitioners to participate. The research team will be seeking photographs of concerning lesions, together with the patient history and details of presenting features. These will be reviewed by ocular melanoma specialists before patients are considered for more detailed consultation. The results of this study will also provide “invaluable” education material for all eyecare practitioners in the future, said Dr Lim.