BACKGROUND: Cutaneous metastatic disease is an important finding that may represent the first sign of systemic cancer, or, if already known, that may change tumor staging and thus dramatically altered therapeutic plans. Although cutaneous metastases are relatively frequent in patients with cutaneous melanoma, they are less so from ocular melanoma. OBJECTIVE: To demonstrate the value of HMB-45, staining in the detection of ocular melanoma metastatic to skin. METHODS: The immunohistochemical stain HMB-45 a monoclonal antibody directed against intact human melanoma cells, was employed on a skin biopsy specimen from a cutaneous tumor. RESULTS: HMB-45 staining was positive in the atypical hyperchromatic cells of the deep dermis. CONCLUSION: HMB-45 may be of value in the detection of ocular melanoma metastatic to skin. Cutaneous metastatic disease is a somewhat common and extremely important diagnosis. Although cutaneous metastases from cutaneous melanoma are relatively frequent, those from ocular melanomas are less so. Use of histochemical staining, especially the HMB-45 stain, allows confirmation of the diagnosis.