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Eye melanoma patients receive cutting edge treatment at Oklahoma eye institute

ARDMORE, Okla. - Matthew Lollman didn't think much about it at first.

"The first symptom I had was lack of vision or a blind spot. Like somebody had put their thumb and smudged it over the lens of a camera,” Matthew Lollman said.

However, the Ardmore man wasn't very concerned because he wasn't in any pain.

"It didn't hurt, so something not working right is different than something that hurts," he said.

A year and a half later, he went to an eye doctor who noticed a dark spot on the back of his eye.

Lollman was diagnosed with a rare uveal melanoma, which makes up just three percent of all melanoma cases.

"Melanoma spreads from the eye to other places in the body through the blood stream,” Dr. Brian Firestone, an ophthalmic oncologist and surgeon at Dean McGee Eye Institute, said.

The fear of losing the eye was taken away by a cutting edge treatment with specialists at Dean McGee Eye Institute and Stephenson Cancer Center.

Tiny radioactive seeds are surgically placed in the eye, delivering a small amount of radiation directly on the cancer.

The location in Lollman's eye turned out to be fortunate.

"I always tell melanoma patients who develop a melanoma in the center part of their vision is that it's bad for their visions, but it's good for their life because they come to the eye doctor earlier when they're small,” Dr. Firestone said.

It will take three to six months to see if the tumor is shrinking.

He'll never regain his sight, but he's staying positive for his children.

"As long as I can keep them functioning and keep that out of their day-to-day world, it's okay," Lollman said.

Dr. Firestone said they performed 41 radioactive plaque therapy procedures last year on patients around the country.

He recommends getting a dilated eye exam every two to three years to catch diseases early.