Skin freckles are very common but do you know that freckles can also appear in your eyes?
Eye freckles may look extremely rare but it is prevalent nowadays. They are generally harmless. However, your eye doctor may recommend you inspect it over time.
Your regular visits would prohibit this rare disorder from turning into a type of cancer called melanoma.
Read further to know eye freckles’ meaning, symptoms, and treatment procedures in detail.
What Is A Freckle On The Eye?
An eye freckle is also known as a nevus. It is similar to the freckles and moles you have on your skin. They can be gray, brown, yellow, or a mixture of colors.
Eye freckles are commonly developed by special cells called melanocytes. Melanocytes are responsible for providing color to your eyes and are usually diverged. But if they clump together, they can create a freckle.
You can find freckles on the different parts of the eye. Sometimes you can spot them easily, while others are hidden. It can also be possible that you have freckles on the back of the eye, which only the eye doctor can locate.
In addition, some categories of freckles can develop before birth, while others appear later in life. Most eye freckles are benign, but it is essential to have an eye exam regularly. It enables your eye doctor to oversee your freckle and examine the underlying eye situations.
What Causes Freckles In The Eye?
Eye freckles have different reasons to occur. Here are some leading conditions behind eye freckle development:
- Skin Tone
Having a specific skin tone can increase your chances of having freckles in your eyes. Choroidal nevi or freckles are more familiar in a person with light skin tone than those with dark complexions.
- Sun Exposure
Sun damage raises your chance of having eye freckles. Some research depicts that people who spend more time in the sun develop more eye freckles in the iris.
Some other common conditions can result in eye freckles:
- Conjunctival nevus (freckles on the white part of the eye)
- Iris nevus (develops in the colored area of the eye)
- Choroidal nevus (freckles on the retina or back of the eye)
- Conjunctival Nevus
It is a pigmented lesion that appears on the conjunctiva or the white portion of the eye. This kind of nevi usually emerges in childhood and is the cause of more than half of all conjunctival injuries.
- Iris Nevus
This kind of eye freckle develops on the iris or the colored portion of the eye. It emerges in nearly 60% of people and is commonly related to sun exposure. These eye freckles are generally flat and do not impose any harm.
- Choroidal Nevus
This group of eye freckles comes out in the back or retina of the eye. It is a flat pigmented lesion that is harmless and develops roughly 1 in 10 people.
Such nevus has a small capacity to come to be cancerous. That is why it is essential to consult the eye doctor for timely handling.
Other Symptoms That May Occur With An Eye Freckle
No additional symptoms can appear other than freckles on the white eye portion in conjunctival nevi. This kind of nevi lasts long over time and their complexion may change during puberty or pregnancy. They can get darkened in color with growth. So, you must monitor this type of eye freckles closely.
In the case of iris nevi, you can notice this eye freckle in people with blue eyes. Your chances of having it will be more if you have blue eyes. To be sure about its existence, you can get it observed through an eye exam.
The third type, Choroidal nevi, is asymptomatic and usually detected during a basic fundoscopic exam. In some rare cases, it may develop with unusual blood vessel growth. Such type of eye freckle also leads to detached retinas or vision loss. Thus, it is essential to get it controlled in time.
Red Freckles Around Eyes
It is a condition called Petechiae, under which small red spots or freckles appear on the skin around the eyes. These freckles resemble a rash and occur because of bleeding under the skin.
Red freckles can be purple or brown and do not cause severe issues. They can fix themselves after 2-3 days. Here are some home remedies that prohibit the patches from cropping up:
- Apply cold compression to the impacted areas. It helps in decreasing inflammation and reduces the formation of red freckles.
- Take corticosteroids or antibiotics to treat red freckles. These medicines cure infections and relieve rashes. Immunosuppressants are also helpful in dealing with red freckles around the eyes.
- Take plenty of rest and relax your mind if you experience discomfort and anxiety.
What Is The Treatment For Eye Freckles?
Early diagnosis of any disorder or illness can help you avoid serious complications. Like that, it is essential to diagnose whether you have freckles in your eyes or not.
Your ophthalmologist requires you to went through a routine eye examination to diagnose your condition.
In some situations, the ophthalmologist may use imaging techniques such as OCT to have a closer look at a nevus. Through these techniques, he can compare pictures over time and detect if there are any differences in their shape or size.
If the eye freckle does not change over time, say a year or two, it will not be a melanoma. But in case the nevus changes into melanoma with age, you need to remove the nevus through surgery. Typical options for surgery include local excision with a small blade and laser surgery to wipe out the tissue.
Some lesions can induce other situations in rare instances, such as pigmented lesions in both eyes. It can also cause congenital hypertrophy of the retinal pigment epithelium (CHRPE), an asymptomatic situation in both eyes.
CHRPE could be a symptom of a genetic condition called Familial Adenomatous Polyposis (FAP). It is relatively rare and linked to 1% of colorectal cancer per year. It is necessary to consult your eye doctor to know the risks of CHRPE and see if there is a need for more tests during the eye freckles removal process.
How Worried Should You Be About Eye Freckles?
Eye freckles do not cause health troubles and always remain unnoticed. Yet, there are some cases in which an eye freckle can result in ocular melanoma. It is an eye cancer and can develop in the cells that form nevus.
When you are trying to figure out if a freckle in the eye is a cause for suspicion, there are a few questions you must ask your eye doctor:
- Where do the eye freckles come from?
- Where is it in the eye?
- Is it cancerous or not?
- What are the reasonable treatment procedures?
- What are the other possible complications?
Can Eye Freckles Disappear?
An eye freckle is a pigmented patch in the retina of the eyes. It will not decrease in length and disappear on its own. It will intensify and remain fixed.
When a freckle in the eye progresses, it can evolve into a melanoma that you can stop with treatment. We recommend you do tests, such as FFA (Fundus Fluorescein Angiography), or an MRI, to be foolproof about its severity.
Can Eye Freckles Be Removed?
Yes, you can get it removed. When you suspect melanoma in your eyes, your doctor will recommend you to have an excisional biopsy. Under which, the eye doctor will attempt to remove pigmented lesions surgically. The removed tissue would be taken to a pathology lab to examine for any certainty of cancer cells.
Cosmetic nevus removal is another easy and modest procedure to remove eye freckles. It includes using a very gentle thermal brushing method to clean out the pigment from the conjunctiva surface. This eye freckle removal surgery costs around $800-$1,500, depending upon the severity of the condition.
The eye freckles do not affect your vision and make you permanently blind.
However, getting it checked by an eye doctor is essential. You can consider going in every six months for an eye exam to assure the freckle has not altered.
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