If we guessed it right, you are most likely here because you noticed brown spots in your eyes or in the eyes of someone you know. And if you’re here looking for more information on what they could mean, you’re in the right place.  

Eye freckles, commonly known as nevus (plural: nevi) are abnormal growths that cause brown spots in the eye whites (sclera). Maybe you’ve had this freckle since birth or recently found out about it during an eye exam; either way, they are common and mostly harmless. 

*Though harmless, it’s important that you get brown spots checked on a regular basis as there is a slight chance that it might turn into melanoma (type of cancer). 

Now, let’s understand what nevus is made of and how they form in the eye, shall we?

What are Nevi? 

Nevi (Brown spots in the eye) are created by pigment cells, otherwise known as melanocytes clumping together, similar to how freckles or moles grow on the skin. These pigment cells also produce melanin that colours the hair, skin, and eyes. Melanocytes are often spread out evenly throughout our bodies and are only visible when they clump together.

But why do they clump together? As mentioned earlier some people are born with eye freckles. But the causes of dark spots developing in the eyes of some individuals is still a mystery. There are a few factors that are believed to influence your chances of developing a nevus, such as exposure to ultraviolet light.

Types of dark spots in the eyes 

Based on the location of the cluster of melanocytes the nevi can be put into three different categories. 

  • Conjunctival Nevi: They appear on the white part of the eye and are usually present from early childhood. 

These show almost no symptoms besides changing colour during pregnancy or puberty. 

  • Iris Nevi: They appear on the coloured part of the eye (iris). It is usually flat, unlike iris melanoma, and don’t pose any risk. 

They go unnoticed in people with darker iris’ but can be spotted easily in people with lighter eye colours.

How are they treated? 

Since they are mostly harmless, there is no need for you to get rid of these brown spots in your eyes. But it will require constant monitoring. You will need to have your eye doctor record its size, shape, and any colour changes every six months to make sure it hasn’t grown. 

If a nevus starts showing complications, melanoma, or suspicion of melanoma (cancer), a simple surgery is performed to remove it. It’s also worth noting that they can’t be removed safely for cosmetic reasons.

In conclusion, these brown spots typically don’t pose any threat.  Rest assured, as long as you have them checked every six months for signs of growth and complications you’re safe. 

If you’re looking for an eye clinic with the best ophthalmologists to get your eyes checked, we’ve got you covered. At Prasad Netralaya, we offer services for a wide range of vision problems ranging from squint eye management to cataracts. Call us at +91 9513596565 or book an appointment if you wish to visit in person. You can also book a teleconsultation.

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