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Benign and Malignant Eye Tumors

By admin | Jun 26, 2019

Much like our skin can develop pigmented lesions, our eyes can also do the same.  These lesions can either be benign (not cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).  There are many forms of pigmented lesions with one of the most common types being a choroidal nevus. A choroidal nevus is commonly known as “an eye freckle” or a “birth mark”.  These nevi can appear on the iris (the colored part of the eye), or in the back of the eye in a tissue known as the choroid.  A nevus is may be defined as a benign choroidal tumor consisting or benign but atypical cells called melanocytes.  Melanocytes are precursor cells that are present at birth, and can multiply throughout life.  The incidence of a choroidal nevus in the general population is approximately 5%.  They are more common in Europeans than in pigmented population.


In rare cases, a choroidal nevus can transform into a choroidal melanoma, just as moles on the skin can transform into skin melanomas.  Choroidal melanomas can also arise spontaneously, although this is rare.  Choroidal melanomas are the most common ocular malignancies.  Unlike skin moles and melanomas, it is not possible to monitor a choroidal nevus without an ophthalmic exam as it needs special equipment to visualize.  Therefore, it is very important to get regular eye exams by your ophthalmologist.  During that exam, your ophthalmologist will look at size, color, the presence of fluid, and many other characteristics that could suggest malignant transformation.

There are other tumors in the posterior segment including metastatic tumors and hemangiomas (abnormal blood vessel growth).  Your retina specialist is trained to decipher the various pigmented lesions, and proper care for the findings.  Most people have no symptoms of an eye tumor and they are usually discovered during a regular eye exam.  Therefore, routine dilated eye exams are important.  Your ophthalmologist can determine whether an ocular tumor is present, and if it is benign or malignant.  Depending on the diagnosis, your ophthalmologist will discuss a treatment plan suitable for you.  Here are Retina Consultants of Boston, we specialize in providing quality patient care tailored to your specific eye care needs.  We are currently accepting new patients.  Please call and schedule an appointment today.

In the interest of maintaining further transparency and providing a wide breadth of information to our patients and providers, this blog will serve as an educational and informative resource on interesting happenings within Retina Consultants of Boston and in the greater field of Ophthalmology.

Here at Retina Consultants of Boston, Dr. John J. Weiter and Dr. Namrata Nandakumar are on the forefront of diagnostic techniques, treatment and micro-surgical techniques for macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, retinal detachments, macular holes, and a number of other issues affecting the vitreous and retina. Check back here frequently for news and updates on our practice and all things retina!