Paul T. Finger, M.D., F.A.C.S. is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology and is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology. He is the founding Director of Ocular Tumor Services at several renowned institutions, including the New York University School of Medicine (where he also serves as a Clinical Professor of Ophthalmology), The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mt. Sinai, Tisch Hospital, and Manhattan Eye, Ear and Throat Hospital. He is fellowship trained in ocular tumor, orbital disease and ophthalmic radiation therapy.
Dr. Finger has extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of cancers in and around the eye. These cancers are all rare and typically diagnosed without biopsy. That is why his more than 30 years of experience with research, teaching and clinical care are so important. In order to make the diagnosis, Dr. Finger uses the latest diagnostic imaging and ultrasound techniques. In fact, he has researched and developed many of the diagnostic techniques now employed around the world. These include high frequency anterior segment ultrasound (“ultrasonic biomicroscopy,” or UBM), OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography), digital imaging and the “Finger Iridectomy Technique” biopsy for iris and ciliary body tumors. Each examination room in his office is equipped with a 55″ HD display so that he can teach you everything you need to know about your medical problem.
The most primary intraocular cancer in adults is melanoma. It is often called choroidal melanoma. Dr. Finger offers the most sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic options for these cancers, including brachytherapy (radioactive material in seeds, plaques or catheters placed directly into or next to the tumor). Dr. Finger has pioneered the use of palladium-103 seeds in ophthalmic plaques, which he has found to offer comparatively better eye and vision sparing than that reported for iodine-125 or ruthenium-106 and proton therapy (in most cases).
Dr. Finger believes in excellence through innovation. Never satisfied with less effective treatments, he invented slotted eye plaques to save eyes for those patients whose choroidal melanoma is wrapped around the optic nerve, ultra small incision aspiration-cutter assisted intraocular and orbital biopsy to increase safety and effectiveness as well as numerous other techniques described on this website.
Dr. Finger has published more than 275 original articles (including those related to the COMS), 38 book chapters and has performed thousands of scientific reviews. Dr. Finger wrote “the” chapter on intraocular melanoma in the latest standard medical oncology textbook “DeVita,” and has authored the chapter covering all eye cancers for the 2015 UICC Manual of Clinical Oncology 9th edition. He has headed national and international committees to improve radiation therapy and develop a standard “universal” language to classify eye tumors. As Chair of the Ophthalmic Oncology Task Force of the American Joint Committee on Cancer, he worked with over 50 eye cancer specialists from over 11 countries to make universal staging and a common scientific language a reality.
Most recently, Dr. Finger has created the eye cancer working day initiatives. This is the first project aimed at having the entire community of eye cancer specialists work together to accomplish multicenter international projects.
Professional Society Memberships
- Member, Assoc. for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology
- Fellow, American Academy of Ophthalmology
- Member, The Retina Society
- American Society of Retinal Specialists
- American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
- Radiation Research Society
- Fellow, The American College of Surgeons
- Chair Ophthalmic Oncology, the American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC)
- Member, The Commission on Cancer
Expert in Ophthalmic Radiation Therapy
- In 1989, Dr. Finger became a principle investigator for the Collaborative Ocular Melanoma Study (COMS) which found that plaque therapy was equivalent to removal of the eye to prevent metastasis.
- In 1991, Dr. Finger discovered palladium-103 plaque therapy for intraocular tumors. His subsequent clinical work on 400 patients showed excellent local tumor destruction and visual acuity retention as well as low rates of metastasis.
- In 1997, Dr. Finger reviewed and published the worlds’ experience in radiation treatment for choroidal melanoma in his work: “Radiation for Choroidal Melanoma.”
- In 2009, Dr. Finger reviewed and published the worlds’ experience with radiation therapy for orbital tumors in his work: “Radiation therapy for orbital tumors: concepts, current use and ophthalmic radiation side effects.”
- In 2012, Dr. Finger was selected to be the first ophthalmologist to be included and lead the clinical section of Task Group-129 for the AAPM that defined best practices for plaque radiation therapy for intraocular tumors. Download the PDF Here
- In 2014, Dr. Finger (the only ophthalmic oncologist ever selected by the American Brachytherapy Society) created a committee to create consensus guidelines for plaque radiation therapy: “The American Brachytherapy Society consensus guidelines for plaque brachytherapy of uveal melanoma and retinoblastoma.”
Patent Holder, Innovator & Teacher
In his efforts to conserve eyes and vision; Dr. Finger has invented the use of palladium-103 plaque radiation for choroidal melanoma, pioneered the use of 3D and high-frequency ultrasound imaging for intraocular tumors, and has created a world-renowned website (http://eyecancer.com). Dr. Finger has developed new methods for the diagnosis and treatment of many ocular tumors, holds several patents and has written hundreds of scientific publications. Dr. Finger lectures frequently at local, national and international meetings.
Dr. Finger is board certified by “The American Board of Ophthalmology” and is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Ophthalmology and cares for patients from all over the world.
Dr. Finger has a particular interest in choroidal melanoma, ciliary body melanoma and iris melanoma. He has written extensively about new ways to detect and treat retinoblastoma, conjunctival melanoma, squamous carcinoma, metastatic cancer to the eye and orbital tumors.
Proponent for International Cooperation
In 2005, Dr. Finger was selected Chairman of the American Joint Committee on Cancer – International Union Against Cancer (AJCC-IUCC): Section on Ophthalmic Oncology. Dr. Finger has formed a committee of international cancer specialists charged with developing classifications for ocular cancers and to find biomarkers for the risk of metastasis.
In June of 2015, Dr. Finger hosted 160 eye cancer specialists for the first eye cancer working day at The Curie Institute. They represented every continent and were tasked on working together to accomplish projects that could only be done by the group. They included: tumor registries with data mining, doctors reported outcomes, patient reported outcomes, an open access eye cancer surgical atlas, staging radiation side effects and training of eye cancer specialists for unserved countries.
Founder of a Charitable Organization
Dr. Finger established a non-profit charitable organization, The Eye Cancer Foundation, to conduct and support research to help patients with ocular tumors and macular degeneration. With his guidance, The Eye Cancer Foundation has supported multicenter clinical research, informational websites (communities), and fellowship education. The Eye Cancer Foundation continues to help people help themselves.
Dr. Finger has assembled a team of experts to care for patients with eye tumors. By picking the best doctors from several institutions, his team includes the top radiation, medical and pediatric oncologists in New York City.
Advice about protecting your eyes from the sun: Dr. Finger says “Think of Sunglasses as Sunblock for your Eyes.”™
Reviews of Important Clinical Subjects & Problems in Ophthalmic Oncology
Dr. Finger believes a subspecialist must review, analyze and present important subjects for others in his field. So far, he has written or participated in the following reviews of the literature:
- Radiation Therapy For Choroidal Melanoma
- Chemotherapy for Eye Cancer
- Anterior segment tumors: Current Concepts and Innovations
- Adenocarcinoma of the Retinal Pigment Epithelium
- Kidney, Cancer and the Eye: Current Concepts
- Melanocytic Conjunctival Tumors
- Risk Factors for Metastasis in Retinoblastoma
- Chemotherapy for Retinoblastoma: A Current Topic
- Click Here to View more of Dr. Finger’s Most Recent Papers Online!
Awards and Recognitions
Dr. Finger has been in Castle Connolly’s America’s Top Doctor for more than 10 years. Top doctors are nominated by peers and selected by experts. They are featured annually in both Newsweek and New York Magazine. Dr. Finger has also been recognized as a Top Doctor in the New York Metro Area for nearly 15 consecutive years, and one of America’s Top Cancer Doctors for more than a decade. Castle Connolly selects only those doctors who are among the very best in their specialties and in their communities. Doctors do not and cannot pay to be included in any Castle Connolly Guide or online directory.
Dr. Finger also received the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the Tulane School of Medicine in 2014 in recognition of his career accomplishments and excellence in the medical profession.