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

David H. Abramson, MD

Ophthalmic Oncologist


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, 8:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m., (Eastern time)
Accepted Insurance Providers

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


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 Distinction Center

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a designated Blue Distinction Center for bone marrow transplant and CAR-T.

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.


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. 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. In-network participation exceptions include:

  • Emblem’s HIP Commercial Millennium, Select Care and Enhanced Care Prime networks is not in-network with Memorial Sloan Kettering.
  • Please call Emblem to confirm if your specific plan is in-network.

For information regarding Memorial Sloan Kettering’s participation with Emblem’s Medicare Advantage Plans, please refer to the Medicare & Medicaid page

Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield

Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with Empire Blue Cross Blue Shield (Wellpoint) of New York Indemnity, HMO, EPO, PPO, POS and Medicare Advantage 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.
  • Please call Empire BCBS to confirm if your specific plan is in-network with Memorial Sloan Kettering.

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


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

Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey

For our NJ locations, Memorial Sloan Kettering is an in-network provider with most Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey plans for individuals, families, and small businesses. Horizon members with Blue Card Access (there would be a suitcase logo on the front of the card) may have access to our NY locations.  Please call Horizon to confirm if your plan is in-network in NY. 


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.


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


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

Medicare & Medicaid

For information about Medicare and Medicaid, please visit this page

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.


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.


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 Blue Cross Blue Shield plans

Most Blue Cross Blue Shield plans include Memorial Sloan Kettering as an in-network provider. Contact your insurance company to confirm if Memorial Sloan Kettering is in-network.

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

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.


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.


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


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

Locations map
Find a Convenient Location

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

See all locations

About Me


MD, Albert Einstein College of Medicine


Ophthalmology - Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center


Ophthalmology - Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center

Board Certifications


Please note that this doctor’s office has recently moved. All patient appointments are now taking place at the Rockefeller Outpatient Pavilion at 160 East 53rd Street in Manhattan.

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)


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.

See all Pediatrics doctors

See all Radiation Oncology doctors

See all Ophthalmic Oncology Service doctors

Clinical Trials

Smiling doctors in the lab
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


Doctors and faculty members often work with pharmaceutical, device, biotechnology, and life sciences companies, and other organizations outside of MSK, to find safe and effective cancer treatments, to improve patient care, and to educate the health care community.

MSK requires doctors and faculty members to report (“disclose”) the relationships and financial interests they have with external entities. As a commitment to transparency with our community, we make that information available to the public.

David H. Abramson discloses the following relationships and financial interests:

  • The Fund for Ophthalmic Knowledge Inc.
    Fiduciary Role/Position

If you’re a patient at MSK and would like more information about your doctor’s external relationships, please talk with your doctor.

The information published here is for a specific annual disclosure period. There may be differences between information on this and other public sites as a result of different reporting periods and/or the various ways relationships and financial interests are categorized by organizations that publish such data.

This page and data include information for a specific MSK annual disclosure period (January 1, 2021 through disclosure submission in spring 2022). This data reflects interests that may or may not still exist. This data is updated annually.

Learn more about MSK’s COI policies here. For questions regarding MSK’s COI-related policies and procedures, email MSK’s Compliance Office at [email protected].

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