David H. Abramson, MD -- Chief, Ophthalmic Oncology Service, Department of Surgery

David H. Abramson, MD

Ophthalmic Oncologist

Titles

Chief, Ophthalmic Oncology Service, Department of Surgery

Clinical Expertise

Retinoblastoma; Ocular Melanomas (Melanoma of the Eye); Uveal Melanoma; Orbital Tumors; Ophthalmic Oncology

New Patient Appointments

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Mon–Fri,
Accepted Insurance Providers

Dr. Abramson accepts the following list of insurance providers. Select your insurance provider to see more details.

Aetna

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Aetna HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Aetna does not include us in any of the plans you can purchase through the insurance exchanges or through Medicare. Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral. MSK has an agreement with the Aetna Transplant Program for all Aetna's commercial products.

Blue Cross Blue Shield

In New York State

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York HMO, EPO, PPO, and POS plans, with the following exceptions:

  • Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering is not an in-network provider for Empire's Medicare Managed Care plan known as Mediblue).
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Blue Cross Blue Shield.

In New Jersey

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. For example, the PPO plan is in-network with our Manhattan locations. 

Horizon Blue Cross HMO is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations. It does not allow access to our Manhattan facilities.

Horizon Blue Cross PPO is in network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen, Monmouth and Manhattan locations.

OMNIA Plans: Tier I EPO based plan policy is only in-network with our Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth locations and does not allow access to our Manhattan sites. Tier II EPO is only in-network with our Manhattan sites if it is a blue-card plan (there would be a suitcase logo indicating PPO on the front of the card).

Other plans may only be in-network at our Basking Ridge, Bergen or Monmouth locations.

Outside New York State and New Jersey

Some, but not all, Blue Cross Blue Shield plans outside of New York and New Jersey include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Health Insurance Exchanges

We understand that there may be many complexities involved with insurance coverage purchased through the health exchange network of the Affordable Care Act. We’re here to help. If you have questions about how your care will be covered by an insurance provider, or need help navigating a change in coverage, please call us at 646-227-3378; if you are not a resident of New York, you can call us at 866-248-1274. Our team is here to listen to your concerns and assist you in any way we can. We want our care to be as accessible and affordable for as many people as possible.

CIGNA

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with CIGNA's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. CIGNA does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

  • If you are a New York State resident: Please ask your insurance if you need a one-time referral.
  • If you live outside of New York State: Please ask your insurance if you have in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.
EmblemHealth (including GHI, HIP, ConnectiCare, and Vytra)

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with EmblemHealth’s PPO, EPO, POS, HMO plans and Medicare plans. Emblem Health does not include us in any of its Select Care network plans. EmblemHealth includes GHI, HIP, Vytra, and ConnecticCare (in NYS Only). You must bring a referral from your Emblem primary care doctor to your first appointment.

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plus

Formerly known as Health Plus Amerigroup, Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Plus is an in-network provider with Memorial Sloan Kettering. You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.

HealthFirst

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthFirst’s commercial products; these commercial products are not purchased on the insurance exchanges.

HealthSmart

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with HealthSmart’s Accel, HSPC, and HPO networks.

Humana

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Humana.

Interlink Health Services

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Interlink Health Services.

Lifetrac

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Lifetrac.

MagnaCare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for all MagnaCare health plans except those products you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

Medicaid

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Medicaid NY Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield HealthPlus (formerly known as Amerigroup). You will need a one-time referral from your primary care doctor.

Medicare

Hospital and physician services at Memorial Sloan Kettering are covered by standard Medicare insurance. You are responsible for co-insurance and deductible costs. 

In New York: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s New York locations are in-network with the Emblem Medicare Advantage Plans.

In New Jersey: Memorial Sloan Kettering’s  New Jersey locations in Basking Ridge, Bergen and Monmouth are in-network with the Horizon Medicare Advantage Plan. This plan is not accepted for care provided at MSK’s New York locations.

If you are enrolled in any other Medicare Advantage plan, please contact your insurance carrier to determine your benefits and coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering since your access may be limited.

Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some Multiplan/Beech Street/PHCS plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Multiplan.

Multiple Insurance Plans

If you are covered by more than one insurance plan, you will want to determine your benefits from both plans. First, you need to determine which one is your primary insurance provider by contacting your employee benefits office or your insurance carriers. After you find out which is your primary insurance provider, you should then contact your insurance carrier to determine if you have access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

MVP

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with some MVP plans. Contact your insurance carrier to find out if your plan provides in-network access to Memorial Sloan Kettering.

New York State Employee Health Insurance Plan (Empire Plan)

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider for New York State employees who have enrolled in UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services. If you have the Empire Plan, you should call Cancer Resources Services at 866-936-6002 to verify and enroll in this coverage.

Oscar

Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network with Oscar’s Circle Plus Network, a part of its Small Group Broad line that is offered only to select small business groups. Oscar does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider for any of its individual plans. Please confirm eligibility with your insurance carrier. 

Other Coverage Options

We have agreements with several insurance companies that may provide additional coverage for cancer patients. These benefit programs include:

  • AXA Assistance USA
  • Beech Street
  • Integrated Health Plans
  • National Health Administrators
  • National Preferred Provider Network
  • UnitedHealthcare's Cancer Resource Services
  • United Resource Network
  • Veterans Choice Program
Oxford

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Oxford’s Freedom and Liberty plans as well as the Metro Plan (which is only offered to small business groups and no longer offered as individual plans). Please confirm with your insurance if you need a one-time referral. Note: Oxford’s Medicare Managed Care plan — Secure Horizon — does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Oxford does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

World Trade Center Health Program

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with the World Trade Center Health Program.

QualCare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with QualCare's PPO and HMO/POS network.

Specialty Care Management

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by Specialty Care Management.

TRICARE

Hospital and physician services may be covered by TRICARE. Please call your TRICARE plan to confirm coverage at Memorial Sloan Kettering.

UnitedHealthcare

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with UnitedHealthCare's HMO, POS, and PPO plans. Please confirm with your insurance if a one-time referral is needed.

UnitedHealthCare's Medicare Managed Care plan does not include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider.

United does not include us in any of the plans you can buy through the insurance exchanges.

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Center of Excellence by UnitedHealthcare.

Contact and Location

Find a Convenient Location

Memorial Sloan Kettering has locations throughout New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, and Westchester. These locations offers many services, including screening, chemotherapy, and medical testing.

See all locations

About Me

Education

MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Residencies

Ophthalmology - Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center

Fellowships

Ophthalmology - Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center

Board Certifications

Ophthalmology

I am a board-certified ophthalmologist with specialty training in ophthalmic oncology. Ophthalmic oncologists are ophthalmologists who specialize in diagnosing and treating cancer on the surface of the eye, in the eye, and in the tissues around the eye (the lid and orbit). I have a joint appointment in the Departments of Surgery, Pediatrics, and Radiation Oncology. I am also Chief of the Ophthalmic Oncology Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering. This is the only service dedicated to ophthalmic oncology in a cancer hospital in the United States. Because of our close association with specialists in pediatrics, genetics, interventional radiology, radiation oncology, diagnostic radiology, and medicine, we are able to offer coordinated, state-of-the-art care. Our patients have access to novel therapies and clinical trials not available anywhere else in the country.

Ophthalmic cancers are rare. They are usually diagnosed without performing a biopsy, so experience is very important in getting the correct diagnosis every time. At MSK, we use the latest diagnostic digital imaging and ultrasound tools. These include standardized A and B scans, high-frequency anterior segment ultrasound (also called ultrasound biomicroscopy), and optical coherence tomography.

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The most common ophthalmic cancer is melanoma in the eye. This is also known as uveal melanoma or ocular melanoma. We offer sophisticated diagnostic and treatment options for this cancer. These include brachytherapy (sealed radioactive material that’s surgically placed directly onto the eye) with radioactive iodine. Our medical physicists and brachytherapy team are internationally respected for their expertise in delivering customized treatments for each patient. In collaboration with MSK’s melanoma team, we offer clinical trials for melanoma of the eye that has spread to another part of the body.

As a member of the MSK Kids team, I treat patients with a pediatric eye tumor called retinoblastoma. Dating back to 1914, our retinoblastoma center is the longest continually operating center of its kind in the world. We have the longest follow-up of the largest number of patients. We have a modern examination suite dedicated to the care of children with retinoblastoma. It features all the latest equipment needed to diagnose and treat retinoblastoma in the most effective way possible.

I have introduced many new treatments for retinoblastoma that have been adopted by other cancer hospitals. These treatments include the novel use of chemotherapy delivered around the eye to prevent the widespread side effects caused by intravenous medication. In 2006, we pioneered the use of high-concentration, low-dose chemotherapy delivered directly into the blood vessel of the eye through a catheter (thin, flexible tube) placed in the groin, which can be given on an outpatient basis. We have the most experience with this technique (called ophthalmic artery chemosurgery or intraarterial chemotherapy) and have taught it to doctors around the world. In the past, we removed one or both eyes in 95 percent of children with retinoblastoma, but now we can avoid removing the eye 95 percent of the time.

In addition, our studies on the long-term complications of retinoblastoma have been published extensively in the Journal of the American Medical Association as well as in eye disease and cancer journals.

I have published more than 700 books, chapters, original articles, scientific reviews, audiotapes, and videotapes, and I was the editor of the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s instruction book on ophthalmic oncology. I have delivered more than 500 lectures worldwide, including those in France, Italy, England, Switzerland, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, and Argentina.

Among the many honors I have received are awards from the Swiss Society of Ophthalmology, the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, the Helen Keller Services for the Blind, and the New York State Ophthalmological Society. I have received many teaching awards. I have also received the Honor Award, the Senior Honor Award, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Awards and Honors

  • Hall of Fame Honoree, Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation (2019)
  • Charter Member, Retina Hall of Fame (2017)
  • Bjerrum Medal, Danish Ophthalmological Society (2012)
  • The Alcon Research Institute Award, Alcon Research Institute (2011)
  • Stallard Medal, Cambridge University (2009)
  • Honor, Senior Honor, and Lifetime Achievement Awards, American Academy of Ophthalmology (1982
  • 1990
  • 2008)
  • Mildred Weisenfeld Award for Excellence in Ophthalmology, ARVO Annual Meeting (2004)
  • Hobart Lerner Award, New York State Ophthalmological Society (2001)
  • Honoree, The Manhattan League of Helen Keller Services for the Blind (2000)
  • Best Doctors in New York, New York Magazine (2000-2020)
  • Franceschetti Medal, Swiss Ophthalmological Society (1997)
  • Inductee, Harvard University Athletic Club Hall of Fame (1993)
  • America’s Top Doctors, Castle Connolly (1st-10th Edition)

Colleagues

Doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering work as teams, with specialists from all different areas. This allows us to consider all your needs together, and to give you the best possible care.

Clinical Trials

Find a Clinical Trial for You

Memorial Sloan Kettering's doctors and scientists are constantly developing new treatments for cancer. MSK is typically running hundreds of clinical trials at a given time.

You may be able to participate in a clinical trial even if you are new to MSK. Search our online directory to find trial information and see more about who can participate.

Search clinical trials

Research and Publications

Qureshi S, Francis JH, Haque SS, Dunkel IJ, Souweidane MM, Friedman DN, Abramson DH. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Screening for Trilateral Retinoblastoma: The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Experience 2006-2016. Ophthalmol Retina. 2019 Oct 31. pii: S2468-6530(19)30605-0. doi: 10.1016/j.oret.2019.10.010. [Epub ahead of print]

Durham BH, Lopez Rodrigo E, Picarsic J, Abramson D, Rotemberg V, De Munck S, Pannecoucke E, Lu SX, Pastore A, Yoshimi A, Mandelker D, Ceyhan-Birsoy O, Ulaner GA, Walsh M, Yabe M, Petrova-Drus K, Arcila ME, Ladanyi M, Solit DB, Berger MF, Hyman DM, Lacouture ME, Erickson C, Saganty R, Ki M, Dunkel IJ, Santa-María López V, Mora J, Haroche J, Emile JF, Decaux O, Geissmann F, Savvides SN, Drilon A, Diamond EL, Abdel-Wahab O. Activating mutations in CSF1R and additional receptor tyrosine kinases in histiocytic neoplasms. Nat Med. 2019 Dec;25(12):1839-1842. doi: 10.1038/s41591-019-0653-6. Epub 2019 Nov 25.

Francis JH, Berry D, Abramson DH, Barker CA, Bergstrom C, Demirci H, Engelbert M, Grossniklaus H, Hubbard B, Iacob CE, Jaben K, Kurli M, Postow MA, Wolchok JD, Kim IK, Wells JR. Intravitreous Cutaneous Metastatic Melanoma in the Era of Checkpoint Inhibition: Unmasking and Masquerading. Ophthalmology. 2020 Feb;127(2):240-248. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.09.018. Epub 2019 Sep 24.

Banerjee SC, Pottenger E, Petriccione M, Chou JF, Ford JS, Sklar CA, Robison LL, Kleinerman RA, Oeffinger KC, Francis JH, Abramson DH, Dunkel IJ, Friedman DN. Impact of enucleation on adult retinoblastoma survivors’ quality of life: A qualitative study of survivors’ perspectives. Palliat Support Care. 2019 Nov 8:1-10. doi: 10.1017/S1478951519000920. [Epub ahead of print]

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Kleinerman RA, Schonfeld SJ, Sigel BS, Wong-Siegel JR, Gilbert ES, Abramson DH, Seddon JM, Tucker MA, Morton LM. Bone and Soft-Tissue Sarcoma Risk in Long-Term Survivors of Hereditary Retinoblastoma Treated With Radiation. J Clin Oncol. 2019 Dec 10;37(35):3436-3445. doi: 10.1200/JCO.19.01096. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Zauderer MG, Jayakumaran G, DuBoff M, Zhang L, Francis JH, Abramson DH, Cercek A, Nash GM, Shoushtari A, Chapman P, D’Angelo S, Arnold AG, Siegel B, Fleischut MH, Ni A, Rimner A, Rusch VW, Adusumilli PS, Travis W, Sauter JL, Zehir A, Mandelker D, Ladanyi M, Robson M. Prevalence and Preliminary Validation of Screening Criteria to Identify Carriers of Germline BAP1 Mutations. J Thorac Oncol. 2019 Nov;14(11):1989-1994. doi: 10.1016/j.jtho.2019.07.002. Epub 2019 Jul 16.

Farouk Sait S, Haque S, Karimi S, Rebeiz KJ, Francis JH, Marr BP, Abramson DH, Souweidane MM, Dunkel IJ. A Potential Role For Apparent Diffusion Coefficient in the Diagnosis of Trilateral Retinoblastoma. J Pediatr Hematol Oncol. 2019 Jun 27. doi: 10.1097/MPH.0000000000001523. [Epub ahead of print]

Francis JH, Barker CA, Yin VT, Carvajal RD, Chapman P, Abramson DH, Gobin YP. Chemoreduction of Orbital Recurrence of Uveal Melanoma by Intra-Arterial Melphalan. Ocul Oncol Pathol. 2019 Apr;5(3):186-189. doi: 10.1159/000490061. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Abramson DH, Dhar LS, Francis JH. Iris Mass in a 2-Year-Old. Ophthalmol Retina. 2018 Sep;2(9):905. doi: 10.1016/j.oret.2018.06.010. Epub 2018 Sep 4. No abstract available.

Abramson DH, Francis JH. Pseudomelanoma (with Cataract) in a Child Caused by Amniocentesis. Ophthalmology. 2019 Apr;126(4):590. doi: 10.1016/j.ophtha.2019.01.025. No abstract available.

Publications on PubMed

Visit PubMed for a full listing of Dr. Abramson’s journal articles. Pubmed is an online index of research papers and other articles from the US National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health.

See all on PubMed