Freckles are usually associated with the skin, but did you know that it can also appear in the human eye? You might have had one since you were a kid or after learning about it during one of your optometrist visits. They may seem weird, but fortunately, these are quite common and harmless. Read on as we take a closer look at these so-called “eye freckles.”
What Are Eye Freckles?
The medical term for an eye freckle is nevus, with the plural nevi. It is similar to a mole on your skin, which is caused by melanocytes or cells containing pigment that are clumped together. You can be born with it, but you can also develop one later in life. While nevus is harmless, you might want to see your doctor as soon as you find one for monitoring. There have been rare cases in which an eye freckle becomes melanoma, which is a type of cancer.
Types of Eye Freckles
Nevi may appear anywhere in your eye. Some are easy to spot while others are hidden in the back of your eye. They come in different types, depending on where your doctor identified them during the eye exam:
- Conjunctival nevus – It is a pigmented lesion on the conjunctiva or the tissue that covers the white part of the eye called the sclera. Often appearing in childhood, it makes up more than half of all conjunctival lesions.
- Iris nevus – It is a type of eye freckle that appears on the iris or the colored part of the eye. About 6 in 10 people have this type of nevus.
- Choroidal nevus – Found in the choroid, which is located between the sclera and the retina, this type of nevus is detected during a dilated eye exam and is usually flat and grayish. It is generally non-cancerous, but there’s a small chance it can become cancerous.
Trust Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry for all your eye care needs. Whether you are seeing us for contact lenses prescription or a medical emergency, we are known for providing excellence in eye care. We offer a wide range of specialties to meet your needs, from pediatric eye care to LASIK consultations. Call us today at (703) 413-1400, or fill out our contact form to schedule an appointment. We serve residents of Crystal City, Clarendon, VA, and the surrounding communities.