Eye Freckles (Nevi)
What is a Nevus?
Brown spots or coloured growth on the surface of the eye are flat pigmented lesions, also known as Nevus. Similar to the freckles or moles on the skin, a nevus can occur on the conjunctiva, which is the tissue that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the sclera (the white of the eye). They can also form inside the eye on the iris, which is the coloured part of the eye (iris nevus), or under the retina which lines the back of the eye (choroidal nevus).
What causes nevi?
Nevi are raised pigmented spots on the eye similar to freckles, which are concentrated areas of melanin. Usually, melanocytes (cells that produce the pigment melanin that colours our hair, skin, and eyes) are spread evenly throughout our body tissue. However, sometimes, these cells can clump together and form nevi. Studies indicate a link between chronic sun exposure (ultraviolet light) and the incidence of conjunctival nevi. Therefore, sunglasses are recommended to protect your eyes from UV light.
Nevi on the outer surface of the eye
Conjunctival nevi which are present on the outer surface of the eyeball are the most common type of nevi and represent more than 50% of conjunctival lesions. Just as with freckles on the body, nevi are asymptomatic (not associated with any pain or discomfort) and new nevi are only noticed when looking in the mirror. People can be born with conjunctival nevi (congenital), or develop it in childhood or later in life. Nevi can range in colour from yellow to brown, and can lighten or darken (during puberty or pregnancy) over time. This type of nevi are usually benign (non-cancerous) and harmless and do not cause changes in vision. However, if you have nevi in the iris or beneath the retina, it is a medical condition that should be monitored annually by an ophthalmologist.
When should I see a doctor?
While nevi are usually harmless, they need to be examined and monitored regularly by an ophthalmologist as they could possibly develop into a type of cancer called melanoma, with age. If you notice any changes in the appearance of your nevi, such as the shape, size, or colour, consult your ophthalmologist immediately. Do not neglect eye pain, sensation of flashing lights, or any other changes in your vision.
At Narayana Nethralaya, we recommend an annual eye examination for people with nevi to evaluate any changes in their appearance. Our doctors will take a picture of the nevi on your first visit and compare pictures over time to see if there are any changes in its size or shape during subsequent examinations. Our experienced doctors are trained to recognise benign nevi from melanomas and other pigmented lesions.
Nevi that do not affect vision or the health of the eye do not need to be treated. Periodic observation is necessary to monitor nevi for any changes in growth over time due to inflammation or hormonal changes. At Narayana Nethralaya, we recommend surgery to remove Conjunctival Nevi only if the doctor suspects that the nevus may transform into malignant melanoma or if they appear cosmetically undesirable to the patient.
Narayana Nethralaya offers the surgical removal of nevi, for both medical and cosmetic reasons. The ophthalmic plastic surgeon at Narayana Nethralaya’s Aesthetic Clinic has extensive training and experience in both facial cosmetic surgery and ophthalmology.
In cases of suspected melanoma, the abnormal pigmented growth will be removed by simple surgical excision and examined under a microscope to rule out any signs of cancer. In cases where the nevi are present on the outer wall of the eye and are affecting the eye’s appearance, they can be removed to restore the normal white colour of the conjunctiva for a more aesthetic look.
We offer surgical excision of nevi with state-of-the-art Pellevue Radiofrequency machine that removes the entire mass of the lesion without causing any damage to the conjunctival structure. The procedure is bloodless and scar-less, has a very high patient satisfaction rate, and is covered by insurance.
Contact us at 9538022466 for more information about Nevi removal.