y7a-me-michelle-martin-master-ay7a-m2l1n4m1_c5rs2“During a routine eye exam, my optometrist noticed a small freckle in my left eye and, not wanting to take any chances, referred me immediately to the Stein Eye Institute at UCLA. It was there that I met Dr. Tara McCannel, a retinal surgeon,” Michelle Martin is quoted as saying.

“I had a feeling from the outset that this was not just a freckle. It can take up to six weeks to get an appointment with a specialist. I was scheduled within 10 days. During my appointment, I was seen by four technicians and three doctors. I underwent an ultrasound and had a dye injection so doctors could see intricate details of the blood vessels deep inside my eye.”

“After about six hours of tests, Dr. McCannel gave me the diagnosis. I had ocular melanoma, a rare but aggressive form ofeye cancer. Only 2,000 people are diagnosed with ocular melanoma each year in the United States, and many patients don’t realize they have it until it has spread to other parts of their bodies. Doctors still aren’t sure exactly what causes it, but they do know that once ocular melanoma has spread to other parts of the body, it is universally fatal.”