BACKGROUND The aim of this study was to evaluate what are the most frequent ocular diseases that were suspected for choroidal melanoma ("pseudo melanoma"). PATIENTS AND METHODS The data of all patients who were seen in the University Hospital of Mainz under the suspicion of choroidal melanoma between 1.1.1994 and 1.1.2004 and underwent ultrasound examination, fluorescein angiography or fundus photography, were analysed retrospectively. Among 458 examined eyes a choroidal melanoma was diagnosed in 212 cases. In 246 cases the diagnosis was "pseudomelanoma". RESULTS The most frequent ocular diseases suspected for choroidal melanoma were "suspicious nevi" in 31 % of the cases and "disciforme macula degeneration" in 34 %. Less frequently we found hyperplasty of pigment epithelium (5 %), melanocytoma (10 %), choroidal haemangioma (6 %), choroidal detachment (7 %) and retinal macroaneurysma with epi-/subretinal haemorrhages (3 %). Rare diagnoses were orbital tumour, scleritis posterior and a combined hamartoma of retina and pigment epithelium (4 % at all). In 58 eyes without a fundus view, ultrasound revealed an intraocular tumour. In these cases vitrectomy/cataract extraction was performed and we found a choroidal melanoma in 5 eyes, a disciforme macula degeneration in 48 eyes and in 5 eyes a retinal macroaneurysma. CONCLUSIONS Age-related macula degeneration (AMD) is the cause for one third of all pseudomelanomas. Because of its increasing incidence in the future, more attention must be paid to AMD in the differential diagnosis of chorioretinal lesions suspicious of melanoma.