Ocular Oncology

Oncology Team | Pediatric Oncology | Adult Oncology

Our Ocular Oncology Team

Eye tumors can occur in patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. In general, they are rare. Because these tumors are rare, there are very few doctors across the United States who sees patients with these rare diseases.

Dr. Amy C. Schefler has hand-picked the very best doctors in the fields of radiation oncology, adult medical oncology, genetics, general surgery, and other fields of medicine to build her team of physicians who all help take care of our uveal melanoma patients. All our ocular oncology team trained at the best institutions in the U.S. for ocular oncology. These physicians were chosen from hundreds at Methodist Hospital, Memorial Hermann Hospital, and private practices in the area. By having access to so many individuals, Dr. Schefler has built the best team in Houston.

Here are just a few more reasons why we believe that Dr. Schefler and her team are the best destination for eye cancer care in Texas.

  • Dr. Schefler has trained at the very largest and best institutions in the U.S. for ocular oncology.
  • Dr. Schefler is also a fully-trained vitreoretinal surgeon. It is critical to have access to a doctor with the very best surgical skills in order to have the best outcomes after surgery. When uveal melanoma is contained within the eye, all the actual medical treatment (as opposed to tests and surveillance) is provided by the eye surgeon, so the skills of the ophthalmologist are of utmost importance.
  • Many of the treatments that are used to deal with the side effects of the radiation for uveal melanoma require training in vitreoretinal surgery, so Dr. Schefler is best equipped to deal with these problems. Ocular oncologists who are not vitreoretinal surgeons often have to refer patients to other retina specialists when these issues arise.
  • Because she is a retina surgeon, Dr. Schefler uses tiny retinal instrumentation to do many procedures related to uveal melanoma. This leads to shorter healing times, easier recovery, and safer surgery.
  • Dr. Schefler performs cutting-edge research in uveal melanoma including multiple prospective clinical trials. RCH has one of the biggest retina research departments in the country with 50 full-time research staff that assist in the completion of these studies.
  • Because Dr. Schefler has 10 partners who are retina specialists, there is always a doctor on-call 24/7, 365 days a year, to handle any ocular problems that arise.
  • Because one of our goals is excellent service to patients, Maru Bretana, Dr. Schefler’s ocular oncology coordinator, is very available to patients and is available by cell phone nearly 24 hours a day.

To schedule an appointment, please call 713-524-3434 or 800-833-5921. Please ask to be directly connected to Maru, Dr. Schefler’s oncology coordinator.

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Adult Oncology 

At Retinal Consultants of Houston, we strive to stay on the cutting-edge of the latest advancements in cancer treatment. We offer treatment for adults for the following types of eye cancers:

Pediatric Oncology

Download a pamphlet on Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare pediatric eye cancer with only 250-350 new patients per year in the U.S. There are very few centers of excellence for this disease in the U.S. We are one of the few centers in the country performing all cutting-edge treatments for this disease and are the only center in Texas doing so. All the care of these children is performed by Dr. Schefler at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Retinoblastoma comes in several forms. It can be:

  • Familial (run in families, be passed on from a father/mother to a son/daughter
  • Non-familial

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Germinal – there is a mutation in an important gene in every cell in the body, leading to a high risk of cancer in both eyes as well as other cancers in other parts of the body. Generally the disease can be passed from the patient to his/her children.
  • Non-germinal/somatic – there is only a mutation in a gene in a retinal cell, so there is no risk of tumors in the other eye or in other parts of the body. Generally the disease cannot be passed from the patient to his/her children.

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Unilateral – one eye only. In patients with one eye involved, the disease can be familial or non-familial and can be germinal or non-germinal. (see above)

  • Bilateral – both eyes. In all patients with bilateral disease, the retinoblastoma is always of the germinal type (see above) and can potentially be passed on to the patients’ children.

Diagnosis

Retinoblastoma is usually first detected by a mother or father or other caregiver when leukocoria (white pupillary reflex) is noticed in person or on flash photography. Sometimes the first sign is an in-turning or out-turning of one or both eyes. If your child has any of these symptoms, he/she should be seen by an ophthalmologist right away.

After a child is referred to our team for a possible retinoblastoma, the child is brought to the operating room for an examination under anesthesia. While your child is asleep under anesthesia, we examine your child’s eyes thoroughly as well as perform many sophisticated imaging tests such as ultrasound, photography, and fluorescein angiography. These tests allow us to make the correct diagnosis as well as track precisely the growth of any tumors that are found.

RB-2-Images

Treatment

Retinoblastoma can be treated in different ways including:

  • Chemotherapy (intra-arterial, intravenous, intravitreal, periocular)
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing therapy)
  • Radiation (External beam or plaque therapy)
  • Enucleation – surgical removal of the eye

Here at RCH, every patient’s treatment is tailored specifically to him/her.

Intra-arterial Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma

We are excited to introduce our new retinoblastoma program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. This is a cutting-edge center for this disease and we are the only hospital in the entire South Central U.S. offering this modern approach to treating patients with this disease, intra-arterial chemotherapy. This treatment, first invented in Japan and then brought to the U.S. five years ago, enables children to have chemotherapy injected directly into the arteries that feed the eye, rather than into the entire system, eliminating the complications that are normally seen with chemotherapy (fevers, low blood counts, loss of hair, infertility, etc.) and maximizing the dose to the eye. As a result, children are admitted to the hospital less often and we are able to save more eyes from having to be removed.

This disease requires a large multi-specialty team with expertise in treating these children. We have over 50 genetic counselors, nurses, technicians, OR staff, and others who all meet regularly to discuss our patients. Children’s Memorial Hermann is a welcoming, warm place for families where patients routinely rave about their experiences even in times of crisis.

We are also performing cutting-edge research at our center, looking for new ways to save eyes that have failed conventional therapies in the past. As a result, families come to us from all over the region when others have told them that there are no more treatment options.

15631_main_image_1


Pediatric Oncology

Download a pamphlet on Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare pediatric eye cancer with only 250-350 new patients per year in the U.S. There are very few centers of excellence for this disease in the U.S. We are one of the few centers in the country performing all cutting-edge treatments for this disease and are the only center in Texas doing so. All the care of these children is performed by Dr. Schefler at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Retinoblastoma comes in several forms. It can be:

  • Familial (run in families, be passed on from a father/mother to a son/daughter
  • Non-familial

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Germinal – there is a mutation in an important gene in every cell in the body, leading to a high risk of cancer in both eyes as well as other cancers in other parts of the body. Generally the disease can be passed from the patient to his/her children.
  • Non-germinal/somatic – there is only a mutation in a gene in a retinal cell, so there is no risk of tumors in the other eye or in other parts of the body. Generally the disease cannot be passed from the patient to his/her children.

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Unilateral – one eye only. In patients with one eye involved, the disease can be familial or non-familial and can be germinal or non-germinal. (see above)

  • Bilateral – both eyes. In all patients with bilateral disease, the retinoblastoma is always of the germinal type (see above) and can potentially be passed on to the patients’ children.

Diagnosis

Retinoblastoma is usually first detected by a mother or father or other caregiver when leukocoria (white pupillary reflex) is noticed in person or on flash photography. Sometimes the first sign is an in-turning or out-turning of one or both eyes. If your child has any of these symptoms, he/she should be seen by an ophthalmologist right away.

After a child is referred to our team for a possible retinoblastoma, the child is brought to the operating room for an examination under anesthesia. While your child is asleep under anesthesia, we examine your child’s eyes thoroughly as well as perform many sophisticated imaging tests such as ultrasound, photography, and fluorescein angiography. These tests allow us to make the correct diagnosis as well as track precisely the growth of any tumors that are found.

RB-2-Images.jpg

Treatment

Retinoblastoma can be treated in different ways including:

  • Chemotherapy (intra-arterial, intravenous, intravitreal, periocular)
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing therapy)
  • Radiation (External beam or plaque therapy)
  • Enucleation – surgical removal of the eye

Here at RCH, every patient’s treatment is tailored specifically to him/her.

Intra-arterial Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma

We are excited to introduce our new retinoblastoma program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. This is a cutting-edge center for this disease and we are the only hospital in the entire South Central U.S. offering this modern approach to treating patients with this disease, intra-arterial chemotherapy. This treatment, first invented in Japan and then brought to the U.S. five years ago, enables children to have chemotherapy injected directly into the arteries that feed the eye, rather than into the entire system, eliminating the complications that are normally seen with chemotherapy (fevers, low blood counts, loss of hair, infertility, etc.) and maximizing the dose to the eye. As a result, children are admitted to the hospital less often and we are able to save more eyes from having to be removed.

This disease requires a large multi-specialty team with expertise in treating these children. We have over 50 genetic counselors, nurses, technicians, OR staff, and others who all meet regularly to discuss our patients. Children’s Memorial Hermann is a welcoming, warm place for families where patients routinely rave about their experiences even in times of crisis.

We are also performing cutting-edge research at our center, looking for new ways to save eyes that have failed conventional therapies in the past. As a result, families come to us from all over the region when others have told them that there are no more treatment options.

15631_main_image_1.jpg

Pediatric Oncology

Download a pamphlet on Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare pediatric eye cancer with only 250-350 new patients per year in the U.S. There are very few centers of excellence for this disease in the U.S. We are one of the few centers in the country performing all cutting-edge treatments for this disease and are the only center in Texas doing so. All the care of these children is performed by Dr. Schefler at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Retinoblastoma comes in several forms. It can be:

  • Familial (run in families, be passed on from a father/mother to a son/daughter
  • Non-familial

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Germinal – there is a mutation in an important gene in every cell in the body, leading to a high risk of cancer in both eyes as well as other cancers in other parts of the body. Generally the disease can be passed from the patient to his/her children.
  • Non-germinal/somatic – there is only a mutation in a gene in a retinal cell, so there is no risk of tumors in the other eye or in other parts of the body. Generally the disease cannot be passed from the patient to his/her children.

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Unilateral – one eye only. In patients with one eye involved, the disease can be familial or non-familial and can be germinal or non-germinal. (see above)

  • Bilateral – both eyes. In all patients with bilateral disease, the retinoblastoma is always of the germinal type (see above) and can potentially be passed on to the patients’ children.

Diagnosis

Retinoblastoma is usually first detected by a mother or father or other caregiver when leukocoria (white pupillary reflex) is noticed in person or on flash photography. Sometimes the first sign is an in-turning or out-turning of one or both eyes. If your child has any of these symptoms, he/she should be seen by an ophthalmologist right away.

After a child is referred to our team for a possible retinoblastoma, the child is brought to the operating room for an examination under anesthesia. While your child is asleep under anesthesia, we examine your child’s eyes thoroughly as well as perform many sophisticated imaging tests such as ultrasound, photography, and fluorescein angiography. These tests allow us to make the correct diagnosis as well as track precisely the growth of any tumors that are found.

RB-2-Images.jpg

Treatment

Retinoblastoma can be treated in different ways including:

  • Chemotherapy (intra-arterial, intravenous, intravitreal, periocular)
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing therapy)
  • Radiation (External beam or plaque therapy)
  • Enucleation – surgical removal of the eye

Here at RCH, every patient’s treatment is tailored specifically to him/her.

Intra-arterial Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma

We are excited to introduce our new retinoblastoma program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. This is a cutting-edge center for this disease and we are the only hospital in the entire South Central U.S. offering this modern approach to treating patients with this disease, intra-arterial chemotherapy. This treatment, first invented in Japan and then brought to the U.S. five years ago, enables children to have chemotherapy injected directly into the arteries that feed the eye, rather than into the entire system, eliminating the complications that are normally seen with chemotherapy (fevers, low blood counts, loss of hair, infertility, etc.) and maximizing the dose to the eye. As a result, children are admitted to the hospital less often and we are able to save more eyes from having to be removed.

This disease requires a large multi-specialty team with expertise in treating these children. We have over 50 genetic counselors, nurses, technicians, OR staff, and others who all meet regularly to discuss our patients. Children’s Memorial Hermann is a welcoming, warm place for families where patients routinely rave about their experiences even in times of crisis.

We are also performing cutting-edge research at our center, looking for new ways to save eyes that have failed conventional therapies in the past. As a result, families come to us from all over the region when others have told them that there are no more treatment options.

15631_main_image_1.jpg

Pediatric Oncology

Download a pamphlet on Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is a rare pediatric eye cancer with only 250-350 new patients per year in the U.S. There are very few centers of excellence for this disease in the U.S. We are one of the few centers in the country performing all cutting-edge treatments for this disease and are the only center in Texas doing so. All the care of these children is performed by Dr. Schefler at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Retinoblastoma comes in several forms. It can be:

  • Familial (run in families, be passed on from a father/mother to a son/daughter
  • Non-familial

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Germinal – there is a mutation in an important gene in every cell in the body, leading to a high risk of cancer in both eyes as well as other cancers in other parts of the body. Generally the disease can be passed from the patient to his/her children.
  • Non-germinal/somatic – there is only a mutation in a gene in a retinal cell, so there is no risk of tumors in the other eye or in other parts of the body. Generally the disease cannot be passed from the patient to his/her children.

Retinoblastoma can be:

  • Unilateral – one eye only. In patients with one eye involved, the disease can be familial or non-familial and can be germinal or non-germinal. (see above)

  • Bilateral – both eyes. In all patients with bilateral disease, the retinoblastoma is always of the germinal type (see above) and can potentially be passed on to the patients’ children.

Diagnosis

Retinoblastoma is usually first detected by a mother or father or other caregiver when leukocoria (white pupillary reflex) is noticed in person or on flash photography. Sometimes the first sign is an in-turning or out-turning of one or both eyes. If your child has any of these symptoms, he/she should be seen by an ophthalmologist right away.

After a child is referred to our team for a possible retinoblastoma, the child is brought to the operating room for an examination under anesthesia. While your child is asleep under anesthesia, we examine your child’s eyes thoroughly as well as perform many sophisticated imaging tests such as ultrasound, photography, and fluorescein angiography. These tests allow us to make the correct diagnosis as well as track precisely the growth of any tumors that are found.

RB-2-Images.jpg

Treatment

Retinoblastoma can be treated in different ways including:

  • Chemotherapy (intra-arterial, intravenous, intravitreal, periocular)
  • Laser therapy
  • Cryotherapy (freezing therapy)
  • Radiation (External beam or plaque therapy)
  • Enucleation – surgical removal of the eye

Here at RCH, every patient’s treatment is tailored specifically to him/her.

Intra-arterial Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma

We are excited to introduce our new retinoblastoma program at Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. This is a cutting-edge center for this disease and we are the only hospital in the entire South Central U.S. offering this modern approach to treating patients with this disease, intra-arterial chemotherapy. This treatment, first invented in Japan and then brought to the U.S. five years ago, enables children to have chemotherapy injected directly into the arteries that feed the eye, rather than into the entire system, eliminating the complications that are normally seen with chemotherapy (fevers, low blood counts, loss of hair, infertility, etc.) and maximizing the dose to the eye. As a result, children are admitted to the hospital less often and we are able to save more eyes from having to be removed.

This disease requires a large multi-specialty team with expertise in treating these children. We have over 50 genetic counselors, nurses, technicians, OR staff, and others who all meet regularly to discuss our patients. Children’s Memorial Hermann is a welcoming, warm place for families where patients routinely rave about their experiences even in times of crisis.

We are also performing cutting-edge research at our center, looking for new ways to save eyes that have failed conventional therapies in the past. As a result, families come to us from all over the region when others have told them that there are no more treatment options.

15631_main_image_1.jpg

To schedule an appointment, please call 713-524-3434 or 800-833-5921. Please ask to be directly connected to Maru, Dr. Schefler’s oncology coordinator.