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The case notes of new patients attending the oncology clinic at Moorfields Eye Hospital during the first 5 months of 1988 were analysed retrospectively with regard to the origin of the primary referral, the presence of symptoms, the diagnosis and management. Sixty-eight of 94 new patients were diagnosed as having malignant ocular lesions. Of these 68, 47% were first seen and referred by an optician. Half of these patients were asymptomatic at the time of detection.