Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive
My husband's doctor said that he had two freckles in his left eye and it can be cancerous. Can you clarify this for me?
Your husband's doctor is most likely referring to several nevi (pigmented spots) behind the retina of his left eye. The retina is underlain with a pigmented tissue which is part of its basic function. Sometimes pigmented cells become misplaced and can grow in the substance of the retina much like pigmented nevi on the skin. Rarely these can become malignant. No one really knows the percentage of people who have pigmented nevi on the retina to begin with. There are about 800 new cases of malignancy in these tissues per year in the U.S. out of a population exceeding 300 million. The most common procedure is simply to annually look at these for growth or change in character. If one changes signficantly (and again I want to emphasize the rarity of this), then effective treatment is available. For the moment consider them a benign freckle and do not lose any sleep.
Answered by: Richard Bensinger, MD
Categories: Eye Conditions
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