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Purpose: To determine if ultrasonography is necessary to detect progression of choroidal melanocytic tumors undergoing sequential multi-modal imaging with color photography, autofluorescence (AF) and optical coherence tomography (OCT). Methods: All patients with choroidal melanoma undergoing treatment at Moorfields Eye Hospital between January 2016 and March 2020 were reviewed to identify those with treatment deferred by ≥2 months. Tumors that showed progression prior to treatment, defined as an increase in (a) basal dimensions (b) thickness (c) orange pigment and/or (d) sub-retinal fluid, were included. Mushroom shape, Orange pigment, Large size, Enlargement and Sub-retinal fluid (MOLES) scores were assigned to all tumors at earliest date and date of treatment. Results: A total of 99 patients with a mean age of 66 years (range: 26-90) were included. The initial MOLES score was 1 in 2 cases, 2 in 23 cases, and ≥3 in 74 cases. Progression was detected with sequential color photography alone in 100% of MOLES 1/2 and 97% of lesions with a MOLES score of ≥3. When findings on AF and OCT were included, sensitivity for detecting subtle change without ultrasonography improved to 100% for MOLES 3 and 97% for MOLES 4/5. Only one patient included in this study had an isolated increase in thickness that may have been missed had sequential ultrasonography not been performed. Overall, the sensitivity for detecting progression with color photographs alone was 97% (95% CI 93-100%) and increased to 99% (95% CI 97-100%) by including autofluorescence and OCT. Conclusions: Monitoring of choroidal nevi, particularly those classified as MOLES 1 or 2 (i.e., low-risk or high-risk naevi), can be accomplished safely without the need for ultrasonography. The findings of this study may remove barriers to the implementation of tele-oncology clinics for the monitoring of choroidal melanocytic tumors.

Original publication




Journal article


Cancers (Basel)

Publication Date





autofluorescence, choroidal melanoma, choroidal nevus, optical coherence tomography, tele-ophthalmology, ultrasound