Breast cancer is the most common malignancy in women, with increasing incidence in Europe and North America. The frequency of involvement of the eye and visual pathways is reported to be as high as 30% in patients with known metastatic disease. In some cases, ophthalmic involvement can be the first sign of metastatic spread. Metastasis occurs via the haematogenous route and predominantly involves the choroid. Metastases to other ocular structures, the orbit and the visual pathways have also been described. Paraneoplastic effects are rare but significant.
Different modalities are employed in the treatment of breast cancer and its metastases. These include chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The ocular adverse effects of these have been well described, but recently developed new treatment modalities, such as monoclonal antibodies, may have different side-effects. With the increasing incidence of breast cancer and the advent of new treatment strategies, the complications of the disease and the sequelae of therapy are highly relevant to both oncologists and ophthalmologists.
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