Though eye freckle is a rare sight, it creates a huge curiosity among people for their presence. It’s very common to spot freckles or moles on your skin, but freckles in the eye is surprisingly a questionable thing to visualise. Is it present for a reason? Is it harmful? Does it create a change in vision? There are numerous questions that pop out in our mind while looking at those tiny coloured freckles in the eyes. Let’s answer some of them for a better understanding of their existence.
What are eye freckles?
Eye freckles are also known as nevus which translates into “moles”. Yes, freckles in the eye are very similar to the moles on our body. It appears like a post, freckle or mole at different places in the eyes. It’s not very uncommon to spot freckles in your eyes though it's weird to find them in the eye. Eye Freckles are just pigmented spots, usually in flat shape found in the eyes. It’s harmless, there’s nothing wrong in your eyes if you develop a freckle in the eye just like in your body.
However, you’ve got to keep a check on their growth because it has the potential to develop into melanoma (skin cancer). If you experience any changes in the eye or suddenly develop eye freckles in the eyes, reach to an eye doctor. Optometrist after a comprehend eye test would be able to tell you about your eyes. However most of them are simply normal, there’s nothing to worry. Eye freckles are also called by different names based on their location. Here’s what to call them when seen on different parts of the eye.
Different type of Freckles on the eye
Conjunctival Nevus - On the surface of the eye
Conjunctival nevus involves freckles present on the conjunctiva. Conjunctiva is the front clear, thin membrane of the eyes that covers the very front surface and the entire eyeball. Conjunctival nevus is quite a common type of eye freckle. They are called freckles around eyes. The freckles appear from yellow to brown, though it can lighten or darken over time. Conjunctival nevus doesn’t prove to be usually cancerous but merely a spot but you’ve got to keep them checked over time. You must consult your ophthalmologist if there’s any significant change in the size of the freckle. It’s because the growth of the freckles into large can lead to the change of developing skin cancer.
Iris Freckles - Present on the Coloured part of the eye
Iris freckles, as the name suggests, its located on the coloured part of the eye itself. You’ll find spots or freckles on the iris but in tiny sizes. They are mostly present in dark brown colour. It’s caused by increased melanin pigment at one spot. Fortunately, they are harmless and don’t usually transform into melanoma.
Iris Nevus - Present of Iris in a bigger size
Iris Nevus is also like iris freckles, it’s also a dark brown spot on the coloured Iris. However, the size of the Iris nevus is bigger than Iris freckles. It’s known as the large eye freckle. It may develop down into the stroma region of the Iris and usually grow over time. Though dissimilar in size, Iris nevus is also not cancerous and merely a spot. Though you must keep in contact with your ophthalmologist every now and then to check the change. Both of these conditions, Iris Freckles and Iris Nevus are visible to the eyes but distinguishing could only be done by an ophthalmologist.Both of them contain quite a lot of similarity.
Choroidal Nevus - Under the Retina/Back of the eye
Eye freckle in the eyes is called a choroidal nevus. It’s also known as eye freckle under the eyes or eye freckle on the retina. It’s found under the retinal layer of tissue called choroid hence the name. It’s very hard to distinguish and recognise hence it can only be seen during an eye exam. This freckle under the eyes can present in grey, yellow, brown and many other colours. It’s very uncommon to develop, a rare condition to only 1% of the population. It can be harmless if the size of the eye freckle is raised and in orange colours hence checking in with your ophthalmic is the right way to avoid a potential threat.
What’s the cause of eye freckles?
Eye freckles' causes are ambiguous and imprecise. A freckle is made with melanocytes, a type of cell responsible for the melanin. These cells give colour to the part of the body like the hair, skin and in the eyes. A freckle is caused when these cells clump together at one point. Eye freckles could be either harmless or cancerous. However, based on the research, a pigmented freckle that occurs later in life is usually harmless but then it may possess a high risk of cancer. Hence the state and reason are still not known but with the help of an ophthalmologist, you can detect the state of the freckle to decide if it's harmless or not.
There’s also a chance that you develop eye freckles by overexposure from sun’s UV rays. Hence sunglasses are must while looking or working in the sun.
How to diagnose freckles in the eyes?
There are no significant eye freckle symptoms to detect its occurrence. You can only detect it through routine eye tests. Opthamoslist all over the world uses imaging technology like OCT to inspect the eyes more closely mostly in the cases of choroidal Nevus. Photography can help you see in the most precise way. Even ophthalmologists take pictures of your eye freckle and compare it over time to inspect the change in the size or shape.
You’ve got to visit your optician every six months to help you get the possible warning. If there's no change in the eye freckle in a year or two, then the risk of developing melanoma is comparatively low. However, it can change into cancerous as you age hence the checkup shouldn't stop and you must visit them regularly.
What’s eye freckle treatment?
Eye freckle, if it's harmless then it doesn’t require any treatment. It’s simply a spot on your eyes which doesn’t impact your vision or create any health problems hence treatment isn’t your worry. If there’s a chance to develop melanoma if suggested by an optician. It’s a very rare case and critical procedure where the emerging freckles can be removed from the outer wall of the eyes by surgery. It’s a very rare process and has the risk of damaging your eyes hence it is very less likely to be conducted or even suggested by a professional.
Other treatments for the freckles involve radiation, surgery, laser therapy, or removal of the eye.
FAQ about Eye Freckles
How worried should I be about an eye freckle?
Ans. Usually, eye freckles are harmless, it's just a simple freckle in your eyes. However, if there’s a recognisable growth in the shape and size of the freckle then you must consult your optician.
Can an eye freckle be removed?
Ans. It's a highly critical procedure that involves removing the freckle in the eye hence ophthalmologists decline to suggest it to its patient. It can involve permanent eye damage. Hence you must not remove it if it's harmless.
Can an eye freckle cause eye pain?
Ans. No! Eye freckles don't cause any eye pain.
How common is an eye freckle?
Ans. It’s quite common to develop conjunctival eye freckles however other forms are very rare.
What is the chance of an eye freckle turning cancerous?
Ans. There's a 50/50 chance to develop eye freckles that turn cancerous. There’s no warning or symptom, it occurs suddenly. Hence you must go for a routine eye checkup to ensure to keep a check on the state of the eye.