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Ocular Oncology

Ocular oncology is a subspecialty of ophthalmology that deals with cancer and the eye. Both adults and children can develop cancers in the eye, which can develop as eye tumors or as a result of cancer elsewhere in the body that spreads to the eye.

Tumors in the eye can involve the eyelid, conjunctiva (white part of the eye), iris (colored part of the eye) or posterior segment of the eye.

Cancer occurring anywhere in the body can affect the eye directly by spread or by other manifestations. The eye can also be involved by effects of chemotherapy, radiation therapy or effects from bone marrow transplantation (like graft versus host disease).

At UofL Physicians - Eye Specialists, Dr. Aparna Ramasubramanian provides patient-centered care delivered with compassion and excellence. She is trained in ocular oncology and treats a wide range of eye cancers with cutting-edge treatments. 

UofL Physicians - Eye Specialists treats the following ocular oncology conditions:

  • Melanoma of the eye
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Lymphoma
  • Hemangioma
  • Nevus
  • Metastasis to the eye
  • Radiation retinopathy
  • Chemotherapy toxicity to the eye
  • Graft versus host disease
  • Rarer eye cancers


Treatment of primary and secondary eye cancers includes local treatment, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or surgery. Treatment is tailored to each patient.


Retinoblastoma is the most common eye cancer occurring in children less than 5 years old. There is a whole group of physicians that jointly treat these children and it includes a pediatric oncologist, radiation oncologist, endovascular neurosurgeon and genetic counselors.

Click here to learn more about the treatment of retinoblastoma.

Melanoma of the eye

Melanoma is the most common primary eye cancer in adults and occurs in 2,500 patients per year in the United States. 

Approximately 8 percent of individuals have a mole in the front or the back of the eye. Moles in the eye just like in the skin are at risk of changing to melanoma, which is cancerous and hence they need to be monitored in a periodic manner. 

Click here to learn more about the treatment of melanoma of the eye.

Other Eye Tumors

Other eye tumors include tumors in the eyelid, conjunctiva, iris or posterior segment of the eye and includes pigmented tumors, vascular tumors, lymphoid tumors and neural tumors.

Eye Manifestations of Systemic Cancer

These can include metastasis to the eye (which can be treated with local therapy, chemotherapy or radiation therapy), side effects of chemotherapy, side effects of radiation therapy, or secondary effects from bone marrow transplantation (like graft versus host disease).

Goals of Treatment

The goals of treatment in order are:

  1. Save the person's life.
  2. Save the eye.
  3. Save and maximize vision.

Physicians in this practice may not see patients at all locations listed below. For details, please call the appointment line for the location you are interested in visiting.

Offices and Clinics

  • Downtown Office - Kentucky Lions Eye Center
    301 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
    Louisville, Kentucky 40202
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  • UofL Physicians Pediatric Specialists at Old Brownsboro Crossing
    9880 Angie's Way
    Suite 330
    Louisville, Kentucky 40241
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  • UofL Physicians - Eye Specialists at Springs Medical Center
    6400 Dutchmans Parkway
    Suite 310
    Louisville, Kentucky 40205
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  • UofL Physicians - Eye Specialists, Bowling Green
    720 Second St.
    Suite 102
    Bowling Green, Kentucky 42101
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  • UofL Physicians - Eye Specialists, Elizabethtown Health Center
    1239 Woodland Dr.
    Elizabethtown, Kentucky 42701
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Hospital Affiliations

  • James Graham Brown Cancer Center
  • Norton Children’s Hospital

Dr. Aparna Ramasubramanian specializes in treating children and adults with eye cancers and has a joint appointment with the Kentucky Lions Eye and the James Graham Cancer Centers. Following medical school and an ophthalmology residency, she did an ocular oncology fellowship at Wills Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pa., and a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship at Children’s Hospital Boston, Mass. 

Her primary research and clinical interest is retinoblastoma and she treats patients along with a group of physicians that includes a pediatric oncologist, radiation oncologist, geneticist and endovascular neurosurgeon. She also specializes in ocular melanoma and provides state-of-the-art treatment including genetic prognostication.

Dr. Ramasubramanian is the author of the leading textbook on retinoblastoma and has published extensively on ocular tumors. She is also the program developer of the retinoblastoma campaign by the Children’s Eye Foundation (American Academy of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus) whose goal is the early detection of pediatric eye cancers. In addition to treating children with eye cancers, Dr. Ramasubramanian also specializes in treating children and adults with systemic cancers. 

Next Steps

For more information or to make an appointment,
call 502-588-6000