We all know about freckles or moles on our skin, but did you know that they can appear on the eye as well? An eye freckle can also be in the back of your eye! So should you be worried? Don’t fret in this week’s article we will break down what eye freckles are and whether you should be concerned about them. We hope you enjoy!
What Is An Eye Freckle?
An eye freckle is referred to as a nevus or nevi (plural form of nevus) in the medical world. A nevus is actually quite common and can occur on the white part of the eye, colored part of the eye, and even behind the eye. Some of us are born with an eye freckle, whereas others may notice a freckle later in life. Similar to a mole on the skin. Eye freckles are essentially a growth of a collection of colored cells. Cells called melanocytes, which are the same types of cells responsible for pigment, cluster together, instead of spreading out evenly. When this occurs in the eye it is called a nevus.
It is important for patients to know that sun exposure can result in the formation of nevi, so it is important to ensure you are protecting your peepers with the proper types of sunglasses because not all sunglasses are made the same. Learn about what your sunglasses should protect you from.
Should I Be Worried About My Eye Freckle?
Just like moles on our skin, generally, freckles are harmless. But, they can develop into cancerous cells. You may not even know you have a nevus. This is why it is particularly important for everyone to stay on top of their regular eye exams because some eye conditions and diseases do not have any symptoms. If your optometrist has identified a freckle, he may send you to an eye specialist if the spot looks suspicious. The American Academy of Ophthalmology Association explains, “Nevi that are orange, thicker than usual or are leaking fluid are considered suspicious.”
An eye specialist will determine whether or not the nevus is of concern through examining the results produced by an imaging machine like an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT). You will be asked to come back every six months to a year to ensure no changes in size, shape, or color have occurred. If you do not need to be seen by a specialist, your optometrist will also inspect the eye freckle at your next eye exam for changes. At Inner Harbour Optometry we strive to stay on top of the latest and most advanced technology available to serve our patients and also have an OCT machine to inspect nevi. Previous photos produced by the OCT machine will be compared for differences by your eye doctor. You may also be asked to come in for an eye checkup up more often, you will be informed of appropriate intervals at your appointment.
Monitoring Abnormalities Is Key
Monitoring such abnormalities is key to ensuring good eye health. If you do develop cancerous eye cells there are treatments. Such treatments include radiation, surgery, laser therapy, or removal of the eye. Actively observing the nevi is also a treatment option in some cases where the side effects of treating cancer invasively way outweigh the benefits.
In short, your eye freckle is probably benign, but it is extremely important to get regular eye exams to ensure nothing is amiss. And also ensure to wear appropriate sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful UV rays. When it comes to your eyes early diagnosis allows for the greatest chance of success!