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Ocular Oncology is concerned with cancer of the eye.

This page gives you information about the tests, treatment and support you will get.

It also contains information about the staff who work at the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Centre and describes their specialisms.

At the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Centre (LOOC), we specialise in the diagnosis and treatment of adult ocular tumours. The word ‘tumour’ usually means nothing more than a ‘lump’.

Although we provide an oncology service, most patients coming to our clinic have a benign tumour, such as a cyst, haemorrhage or naevus (i.e. ‘a mole’). The tools and expertise required for diagnosis and treatment of these conditions are similar to those needed for more serious disease.

We would advise that you do not assume you have a dangerous condition just because you have been referred to an oncology centre.

About the Liverpool Ocular Oncology Centre

Bertil Damato established the Ocular Oncology Centre at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital in 1993. He became interested in ocular oncology in 1980 when he began working at the Tennent Institute of Ophthalmology in Glasgow under Professor Wallace Foulds, whose pioneering surgery for ocular tumours received worldwide acclaim.

We have instituted several protocols to help patients understand their condition and its treatment.

These include:

  • Giving patients a series of guides and information leaflets
  • Giving all new patients a CD-ROM or tape cassette with an audio-recording of their first consultation
  • Mailing patients a copy of the correspondence we send to the GP and ophthalmologist
  • Creating patient websites
  • Providing a telephone helpline, run by our Specialist Nurses - 0151 706 3976


Ocular Oncology Clinics include:

  • New patient clinics on Mondays
  • Follow-up clinics on Thursdays and on Friday afternoons
  • Conjunctival tumour clinics on Thursday afternoon, once a month
  • Nurse Oncology Clinics on Thursday afternoon

Treatment options

The Liverpool Ocular Oncology Centre offers a wide range of treatments, which include:

  • Plaque radiotherapy: placing a saucer-shaped applicator behind the eye for 1-7 days
  • Proton beam radiotherapy: using special equipment, located at Clatterbridge Centre for Oncology on the Wirral Peninsula
  • Trans-scleral local resection: removing the tumour through a trap-door in the wall of the eye
  • Trans-retinal local resection: ‘hoovering’ the tumour through a hole in the retina
  • Trans-pupillary thermotherapy: sterilising the tumour with a beam of infra-red laser
  • Photodynamic therapy: injecting a light sensitizer into a vein in the arm and then shining low-energy laser onto the back of the eye to activate the sensitizer as it passes through the tumour
  • Topical chemotherapy: using eye drops to treat tumours on the surface of the eye
  • Enucleation: removing the eye, if other methods are unlikely to conserve the eye with useful vision


These treatments are useful both for benign and malignant tumours. If necessary, we combine different methods to achieve the best possible results.

Special investigations

    • Colour photography: using a range of cameras for documenting tumour appearances
    • Fluorescein angiography: for investigating tumour circulation
    • Ocular ultrasonography: for measuring tumour dimensions and tissue consistency
    • Optical coherence tomography: for assessing layers of the retina and detecting fluid under the retina
    • Tumour biopsy: performed either using a fine needle, a 25-gauge vitreous cutter, (‘vacuum cleaner’) or through a trapdoor in the eye
    • Computerised tomography: for producing x-ray images of the eye
    • Magnetic resonance imaging: producing fine images of the eye
    • Cytogenetic studies of melanoma: for detecting DNA abnormalities in the tumour, which give an indication of prognosis

    Job Specialisms

Contact Us

Clinical Eye Research Centre

Royal Liverpool University Hospital
Prescot Street
Liverpool, L7 8XP

0151 706 3973