What Causes Eye Freckles

Most people have not heard of eye freckles unless their ophthalmologist pointed out that they have one during an eye exam. An eye freckle is a change in the pigment inside the eye, changing the eye color in a spot, similar to a freckle on the skin.

Eye freckles are usually harmless, although they should be watched for signs of growth or change, which would indicate a more serious condition. Just as you would watch a new mole or freckle for signs of skin cancer, an eye freckle could, rarely, develop into a cancerous tumor. Your ophthalmologist will help determine how often you should be seen to follow the progress of your eye freckle. In most cases, however, there is no need for anxiety over having them.

Inside Your Eye
The retina of your eye sits on top of a membrane that helps provide it oxygen. This membrane is called the choroid. The choroid is full of colored, or pigment cells. These are what make your eyes the color they appear. Sometimes, these pigment cells will get together into a cluster, forming a freckle. There is no known cause for this development. These freckles are called by the name choroidal nevi. Depending on where these choroidal nevi are located inside the eye, they could distort or affect vision, grow or develop into tumors. This is rare, however. All you really need to know is to keep regular checkups as you are directed.

Your eye doctor can take a look behind the eye at the blood vessels around the eye freckle. One is done with special filters and is called a fluorescein angiogram. You will have a dye injected into your arm, and then these photographs of the back of the eye will help the doctor see all details of the blood vessels, plus the size and shape of the eye freckle. If you need this test done, do not worry. It is good to be thoroughly checked so you have all the information you need.

Unless the eye freckle turns into a tumor, no treatment is needed. In the rare case that it has, the current treatment options include laser surgery and radiation therapy. While both treatments will cause vision loss, they will protect you from losing your eye. Remember though, having an eye freckle does not mean that you will develop a tumor.

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