The technical term for a freckle, spot or mole in or on the eye is a naevus, but the name makes the freckle sound more daunting than it actually is. Typically flat, round and grey in colour, these spots are often detected during routine eye tests and are usually not harmful. Though they are not normally present, they are still fairly common.
A choroidal naevi, is one of the most common types. Not surprisingly this is found in the choroid, which is a vascular layer located between the retina and the sclera.
As with other freckles on the body, the choroidal nevus should be monitored regularly. As it is difficult to observe a freckle in your own eye, it is important to attend regular eye tests. In particular, if the freckle changes in size, shape or colour, your optometrist will likely ask you to seek the opinion of an eye doctor. It is possible, albeit rare, for a choroidal nevus to transform into a melanoma. A thick, orange-pigmented, or fluid-leaking freckle will typically be labelled as suspicious.
A choroidal melanoma, as opposed to a choroidal naevus, is a tumour found within the eye. Choroidal melanoma is malignant and must be treated. Though most often located in the choroid, melanoma of the eye can also occur on the iris or ciliary body. An important risk factor in melanoma of the eye is sun exposure, so it is important to wear sunglasses with proper UV protection. Incidences of melanoma of the eye have increased in recent decades, with fair skinned and blue-eyed individuals being particularly susceptible.