ECF Supported Research Featured in New York Eye and Ear Infirmary 200 Years Celebration

The New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai is celebrating 200 years of providing innovative, first-class care to patients with ocular diseases. At the core of the infirmary’s Ocular Oncology Service stands ECF Executive Director Paul T. Finger, MD, who doubles as the committee’s founding director.

The Eye Cancer Foundation has supported much of the research conducted by Dr. Finger in pioneering new methods of treating eye cancers. Since the service began at NYEE in 1989, several new treatment modalities have been adapted: the use of topical chemotherapy in treating conjunctival melanoma and primary acquired melanosis; Finger-Slotted eye plaques to improve local control in treating choroidal melanoma; anti-VEGF therapy in treating intraocular melanoma to lessen radiation damage; and much more.

The support of The Eye Cancer Foundation and the work of the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary has reshaped the face of eye cancer care around the world. The ECF looks forward to continuing its work of supporting research efforts with the end goal of improving patient care.

Read the full article here.

The Garg-Finger Staging System for Retina Capillary Hemangioma

Drs. Garg and Finger created the first visual acuity prognosis based staging system for retina capillary hemangioma (CRH). It appeared in the May 2020 issue of  the Russian Ophthalmological Journal. Their study titled, “Visual Prognosis Based Staging for Retinal Capillary Hemangioma,” was derived from an analysis of the medical literature on Medline and PubMed. Thus, published medical evidence was collected and analyzed to create a staging system to determine the visual prognosis of eyes that are affected by retinal angiomatosis of Von-Hippel. Some of those same patients suffer from Von-Hippel Lindau disease (VHL), which is a genetic condition associated with benign and malignant tumors arising in multiple organs. The tumors seen in VHL include: hemangioblastomas, which are blood vessel tumors of the brain, spinal cord and eye as well as renal cell carcinoma. However, the most common manifestation of VHL is the retinal capillary hemangioblastoma (CRH). The average lifespan of VHL patients is 40 to 50 years. Treatment of CRH usually included observation, laser, cryotherapy, plaque brachytherapy and vitreoretinal surgery for larger CRHs and their complications. 


Dr. Finger and Dr. Garg performed a meta-analysis for the risk factors associated with vision loss at diagnosis. The current study provides an overview of visual prognosis, factors affecting, and a new staging system to prognosticate vision retention. Dr. Finger and Dr. Garg determined that age at onset of CRH, intraocular location, and multifocality were the most important predictors of vision loss. This new Garg-Finger staging system can thus be used by both patients and their ophthalmologists to decide on the timing of treatment and the possible outcomes.

2020 Fellowship

Ghana is another country claimed by the Eye Cancer Foundation! Recently, Dr. Akosua Boateng finished her training sponsored by The Eye Cancer Foundation ( She notes, “I have always been interested in ocular pathology, but had never truly had the opportunity to nurture the interest due to a lack of resources in my home country.” However, she was awarded the opportunity to train in ophthalmic pathology with an emphasis on retinoblastoma at the Beijing Children’s Hospital due to a joint effort of Dr. Paul Finger of The Eye Cancer Foundation and Dr. Brenda Gallie of the University Health Network, Princess Margaret Cancer Center of Toronto. 


Dr. Boateng was determined to learn about the clinical presentation, examination, and treatment for many ocular cancers as well as be able to recognize their pathology on slides under the microscope.  Her training 

was split between a clinic with Dr. Jeffrey Zhang, retinoblastoma care with Dr. John Zhao and the pathology department with Dr. Nan Zhang. During clinic days, Dr. Boateng learned about many eye diseases including myopia, congenital anophthalmia and others. For the first time, she learned how to perform intraocular photography with the Retcam Imaging System. For retinoblastoma care, Dr. Boateng was able to examine the fundus of both old, treated  and new cases. She took part in discussions of the children’s treatment options. She spent time in the operating theatre shadowing surgeries, such as laser treatment, chemotherapy and enucleation. She learned to differentiate between retinoblastoma and Coat’s Disease. In the pathology department, first she learned more about the anatomy of the eye, identified histologic high-risk factors for retinoblastoma, and how to stage cases according to the AJCC 8th Edition Manual. She says it was a “great learning experience.”. 


Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Boateng was forced to abruptly end her training months prior to completion. Thus, she would like to return to learn more about adult ocular pathology as it would be helpful back in Ghana. However, when Dr. Boateng returned to her parent hospital in Ghana, she feels so much more confident in dealing with ocular pathology and retinoblastoma. She is grateful to Drs. Finger and Gallie as well as The Eye Cancer Foundation for allowing her intensive training to happen! 



3 – Year Journey – Raising Awareness for Retinoblastoma

Retinoblastoma is the most common intraocular cancer in children. One out of 15,000 children suffer from this malignancy. Typically, parents notice that one or both pupils turn white and their child has difficulty seeing.  In 2017, a university in New Delhi, India initiated a long-term project to detect that white eye reflex in children. It was spearheaded by Nirmala Muralidhar, the project coordinator of Janki Devi Memorial College, under the direction of Dr. Vikas Menon, their consultant ocular oncologist. What began as a student faculty project, in November 2017, it transformed into a larger initiative where a Non Governmental Organization (NGO), ophthalmologists, ocular oncologists from specialty eye cancer centers collaborated to create awareness for early detection of retinoblastoma cancer.  


The long-term goals of this project included sensitizing families to the appearance of the white eye reflex, stirring awareness amongst doctors about retinoblastoma and prompting parents to be aware of their children’s eye health. Using photography as a tool for early detection, they created awareness of children with special needs who suffer from retinoblastoma. Though these objectives were slowly accomplished over 3 years, there were many activities, learning opportunities, and research studies presented to educate the public. The Strides for Retinoblastoma was most profound and heartfelt, as an RB survivor led a walk with over 200 people during World Cancer Day on February 4, 2018. 


While many research studies are able to spread awareness of retinoblastoma within the healthcare professional world, this initiative is unique as its audience was varied. It included parents, children and healthcare workers. All were involved in this coordinated campaign to save both vision and life.. The Eye Cancer Foundation continues to be determined to create awareness of retinoblastoma, to supply trained eye cancer specialists to underserved communities and is more than proud to announce the success of the JDMC awareness campaign. 


For more information contact  Dr. Puneet Jain at

Retinoblastoma Screening in Babies

Public Awareness Campaign 

Eye Checkups




Message From The Eye Cancer Foundation

Did you know…


…that in addition to the training of eye doctors from around the world, The Eye Cancer Foundation needs to equip them with essential basic eye cancer care equipment. Especially during COVID-19, eye cancer specialists in underserved countries are having difficulty treating their patients with basic equipment designed to help pinpoint the disease. Without the proper equipment, these patients will lose their vision, partially or completely or required eye removal “enucleation.”  Help us equip these eye cancer specialists with essential items for their practices. Thankfully, Amazon makes this very easy.  Just go to the ECF Amazon page and select an item for as little as $6.99.  To get to the right Amazon page, just click here. Send it as a gift or write our Foundation’s Director of Development ( to let us know what you have donated and that it will be coming. You can select from any of the equipment listed and donate as many as you want. Be assured, it will be used for eye cancer patients around the world. No matter what you donate, you will empower an eye doctor somewhere else in the world to save sight and save lives. Thank you, in advance, for helping us with this important work.

Podcasts from Dr. Finger!

Announcing the Essential Eye Cancer Podcast Page with Dr. Paul Finger! Dr. Finger has been working hard to give you this latest addition to the New York Eye Cancer website. For those of you who are auditory learners, these new Podcasts are where you can find your questions answered regarding Dr. Finger’s treatments, techniques and medical suggestions. Dr. Finger is an internationally recognized eye cancer specialist who offers excellence in ophthalmic oncology care and this information reflects his research, teaching, and experience caring for patients over the last 35 years. He has authored over 300 scientific articles, invented new methods for eye cancer diagnosis and treatment and always strives for excellence in his patient’s care. 

Dr. Finger's podcasts

The first PodCast posted on the page is about Dr. Finger’s anti-VEGF therapy. In 2006, Dr. Finger was the first to find that anti-VEGF intraocular injections can suppress radiation damage to the eye and thus save vision. However, like most medications for chronic disease, these drugs are typically given every 4-6 weeks! Click here to listen on Apple Podcasts! Other major podcast links are also available on our Podcast page. To read along, you can also open our brochure page to find the anti-VEGF brochures or click here. Following the debut of this first podcast, other topics will be posted to the podcast page every Monday. Be sure to check back each week to listen to a new podcast! 


ECF Fellow, Dr. Ankit Tomar, Presents Research at the AAO & AAOOP!

In 2019, The Eye Cancer Foundation’s Fellow, Dr. Ankit Tomar, successfully presented two research projects at medical conferences in San Francisco, USA. To eye cancer specialists and ophthalmic pathologists at the AAOOP and American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meetings, Dr Tomar presented on Ciliary Body Leiomyoma: Clinicopathologic Correlation in 3 Cases. In his series, Dr. Tomar shows how ciliary body leiomyomas can be indistinguishable  from ciliary body melanoma. Only special pathology testing of tumor tissue samples are needed to separate these clinical dopplegangers.  


Dr. Tomar also presented on Dr. Finger’s well-known innovation, the ophthalmic palladium-103 plaque brachytherapy. In this study, he explored the safety and tolerability of this method for patients with multifocal iris melanoma. This study was entitled Palladium-103 Plaque Therapy for Multifocal Iris Melanoma: Radiation of the Entire Anterior Segment. Drs. Finger and Tomar discovered this method was highly effective for  this ocular cancer treatment since 1990! In this series, plaque radiation therapy achieved 100% local control and eye retention! This is remarkable because eyes with diffuse iris melanoma are commonly removed (enucleated).


The Eye Cancer Foundation is proud to support research that improves methods of diagnosis and treatment for eye cancer. Our fellows earn grants to present ECF research and learn about cutting edge technology and techniques. By spreading knowledge of ECF studies and findings, The Eye Cancer Foundation and its fellows like Dr. Ankit Tomar spread hope for those who would otherwise lose both sight and life. 

Dr. Finger (left) and Dr. Tomar (right)

Dr. Tomar’s presentation poster on Ciliary Body Leiomyoma: Clinicopathologic Correlation in 3 Cases.

Dr. Tomar’s presentation poster on Palladium-103 Plaque Therapy for Multifocal Iris Melanoma: Radiation of the Entire Anterior Segment.



Surgical Ophthalmic Oncology: A Collaborative Open Access Reference is Published!

Surgical Ophthalmic Oncology: A Collaborative Open Access Reference has been published by Springer Nature and is  available for download for free here

Five years ago, The First Eye Cancer Working Day was hosted by The Curie Institute in Paris, France. This was where the idea for the textbook was born, then called a  “Collaborative Open Access Surgical Textbook (COAST).” Recognizing that there were over 40 countries with NO eye cancer specialist, this “how to” book and video atlas was conceived to offer guidance for general ophthalmologists in those countries. 

Drs. Sonal Chaugule and Santosh Honavar, together with Dr. Finger moved this impressive project from conception to publication. The Eye Cancer Foundations’ support allowed the book to become public access and thus readable on any computer in the world. The International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) has endorsed this work. All told, this book includes the hard work of more than 25 authors who are ophthalmic oncologists, ophthalmic plastic and reconstructive surgeons, vitreo-retinal surgeons, ocular pathologists, and radiation oncologists all from internationally renowned health care institutions. 

This textbook describes symptoms, diagnostic and treatment approaches for oncologic conditions. It covers indications, pre- and post-operative care, and surgical techniques that are required to manage the many types of eye cancer. There are also various illustrations to support reading and enhance the reader’s learning experience, making this a valuable and impressive resource for anyone interested in learning about eye cancer and how it is being treated. One can also find a meticulous approach to treating common and rare eye diseases complete with the key points that are required for performing the surgeries. This original concept book follows the goals of the International Council of Ophthalmology (ICO) in order to improve the quality of a patient’s life and eyesight by spreading  knowledge and improving the education of these diseases.


Dr. Finger finds the book available at the 2019 American Academy of Ophthalmology Meeting in San Francisco.

Dr. Finger’s Interview with The American Society of Retina Specialists

Barton Blackorby: You are the founding member of The New York Eye Cancer Foundation. Could you give some tips on how others can get involved in things like that and how you manage such a busy practice? 

Paul T. Finger: Back in 1998, I found myself leaving academic-based medicine and going into private practice. And when that happens, you realize that all the support from doing research and education disappears and you’re on your own. So I needed to start a foundation. First, I coopted actually some of my patients, found a lawyer, an investor, someone really good with patients, and put together the core of the board and together, we started the foundation. We applied for a 501c3 and then we were off and running. At first, it was to support ongoing research and soon we started doing other things, such as a website. At first, I put my FAQs on there so people would have a reference. And before long, we had a full online text and atlas. We were seeking questions from patients on what they wanted on the website and that was really an education. I went to Australia a couple of years ago, and some of the doctors said, “Oh thanks for having because my patients go there and look at your images, discussions, and come back and talk to me about it.” It’s been a great resource. We get around 40,000 visits a month to, then we have a new website: 

But we didn’t stop there. Once we had more funding, The Eye Cancer Foundation went into international outreach. There are 40 countries that don’t even have an eye cancer specialist! So, we found doctors from those countries and started training them and sending them back. The most cost-effective way of doing this was to train them in other countries: we take – someone from say Uganda and train them in Israel or India (I think we have a fellow from Ethiopia going to India) and they’re learning cost-effective medicine, going back to their countries, and starting ocular tumor services. There are 7,000 children who die of retinoblastoma in the undeveloped world per year and we are trying to at least cut that in half and we can do that with early detection and prompt treatment. 

Barton Blackorby: Thank you very much for the information and inspiring us to do things in the future.

Paul T. Finger: I hope a lot of people start their own foundations. If you’re hands-on, don’t know exactly what you need to do, call us. The ECF was the first and is the most philanthropic foundation for eye cancer in the world. 

Pakistan’s First Trained Ocular Oncologist

Pakistan is another country claimed by the Eye Cancer Foundation! Recently, Dr. Saima Amin graduated from her training sponsored by the Eye Cancer Foundation in Amman, Jordan at the King Hussain Cancer Center under the training of Dr. Yacoub Yousef. Of the hospital she worked, she notes that unfortunately in order to save their lives, “almost all retinoblastoma patients were getting enucleated (having their eye(s) removed)” and the burden of these patients was increasing every day. However, today she is the first fellowship trained ocular oncologist in Pakistan. 

During her fellowship, Dr. Amin was able to assist in several types of surgeries, including plaque surgery and the excision of tumors and biopsies from different sites. In addition, she witnessed the more complex cases of retinoblastoma, which truly helped in preparing her for the full spectrum of pediatric patients she may see in her home country’s hospital. Proudly, she states that she was “involved in every step – the examination, treatment, and decision making.” While honing her skills in a clinical setting, Dr. Amin was also able to practice scholarly research by writing a paper for an international journal under the guidance of Dr. Yousef. 

When Dr. Amin returned to her parent hospital, she said that she feels so much more confident in dealing with oncology cases, particularly retinoblastoma, where so many tumors can be treated without losing a patient’s sight or their eye(s) as a consequence. She is grateful to Dr. Finger and The Eye Cancer Foundation for allowing her intensive training to happen! 

Dr. Amin and supervisor, Dr. Yousef 


















                 Dr. Amin’s Farewell 






Patient Stories

"Very well treated by Dr. Finger. He explained everything I needed to know about my issue with detail and attention, putting me at ease and giving me confidence to handle this problem for the rest of my life.”

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