Choroidal Nevus Blog

Your eye doctor has told you that you have a “freckle” in the back of your eye. What does this mean and how does this affect you in the future?

Many of us have freckles on various parts of our body. A freckle is a collection of pigmented cells. Your primary care doctor or dermatologist monitors the size and shape of these pigmented spots during your regularly scheduled visits. During many routine ocular exams, these freckles can be found in the back of the eye.  When a freckle is located in the back of the eye, it is called a choroidal nevus.  Because it is impossible to monitor a choroidal nevus without an ocular exam, if your doctor does find a freckle in the back of your eye, you may be advised to return for scheduled follow up visits to monitor for changes in the nevus.

If a nevus is found during a routine eye exam, a photograph is usually taken to document the size and shape of the freckle. Your doctor may see you back in 4-6 months for a follow up examination to make sure that the nevus is stable. After several visits where no change is documented, you may be advised to return annually for examinations. If at any time your doctor is suspicious of change, you may be referred to a retinal specialist for further evaluation. These doctors are known as retinal oncologists.

A choroidal nevus usually has no apparent symptoms for the patient. Only your eye doctor can properly diagnose and monitor your freckle. Although most choroidal nevi are harmless, there is a small percentage that progress to choroidal melanoma or cancer within the eye. This means that although rare, if your doctor diagnoses you with a freckly inside your eye, make sure that you return for your scheduled follow up visits!

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