Proton radiotherapy in ophthalmology

Dr Douglas Clarkson describes the use of proton beam radiotherapy as a specialist tool in the treatment of ocular cancers

Newly opened research room at the proton beam centre at the Christie Hospital Manchester (photo courtesy of Christie Hospital)

Conventional radiotherapy for ophthalmology involves use of high energy X-ray photon beams or so called plaque radiotherapy using implanted radioactive sources.

Such conventional radiotherapy, however, is associated with unavoidable collateral damage to adjoining tissues and where in particular damage to optic nerve and fovea region can be significant.  

Proton beam radiotherapy has become available as a specialist technique for the treatment of ocular cancers and where the principal advantage of such a mode of treatment is that it causes less damage to neighbouring tissues than conventional radiotherapy techniques and, consequently, has greater potential to preserve visual acuity. 

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