About the IrisThe iris is a thin, circular organ within your eye that constricts or dilates in order to control the amount of light getting to your retina. Some patients have "spots" or "freckles" in one or both of their eyes. At Retina Consultants of Texas, we see patients who were born with changes in the iris or who developed changes in the iris as an adult. While most of these growths never need treatment, some can rarely develop into malignant tumors, such as an iris or iridiociliary melanoma.
It is highly recommended that you have these spots checked out by an eye care specialist. We have multiple locations in Southeast Texas for you to make an appointment.
Iris nevi, or freckles, can be brown, yellow, or grayish in color. They can be small and flat or small and raised. They sometimes have cysts (fluid-filled spaces) in them and are detected by an ultrasound. Most of the time, the freckles occur at the bottom half of the iris. Many iris nevi do not change or grow (if they do, the progression is very slow). An iris melanoma (a malignant tumor of the iris) can develop, but it is rare.
For an iris melanoma (a malignant tumor that arises from the iris itself), treatment consists of surgery to remove the tumor, radiation, or sometimes even just observation. Iris tumors tend to be small, grow much more slowly, and metastasize less often than malignant tumors that arise from other parts of the eye.
Metastasis to the eye (cancer which arises in another part of the body and travels to the eye) is relatively rare, but it can happen. Iris tumors from metastases often regress when the underlying cancer is treated with systemic (intravenous) chemotherapy, but they are sometimes treated with surgery or radiation.
At Retina Consultants of Texas, we see any patient who has concerns about the spot or spots in their eyes. We do know that you are more likely to have iris nevi if you are:
- 40 – 60 years of age
- Have light-colored eyes (blue, green, or gray)
With your annual eye examination, you should have any suspicious growths, symptoms, or changes in the appearance of your eyes. If your primary eye care provider feels that an ocular or retina specialist needs to take a look at your eyes, he or she may refer you to an ophthalmologist practice to be clinically diagnosed. At Retina Consultants of Texas, we provide our patients and referral patients with state-of-the-art tools to perform a comprehensive ophthalmic exam, imaging (Medina et al. 2014), ultrasounds, and other needed tests you may need. A biopsy may be required for iris tumors.
Treatment and Prognosis
Small, flat iris freckles or nevi can be observed by a primary eye care provider. For more suspicious tumors, you will need to see an ocular oncologist. Your treatment may consist of observation, surgery, chemotherapy, radiation, immunotherapy, laser therapy (Houston et al. 2013), or a blend of several of these approaches.
Explore Treatment Options
We can understand your concern for your health when you notice a new spot or growth in your eye. Retina Consultants of Texas has multiple locations in Southeast Texas and all are equipped and ready to help you examine your options. Find out more about your condition. Call today.
- Medina CA, Plesec T, Singh AD. Optical coherence tomography imaging of ocular and periocular tumours. Br J Ophthalmol. 2014 Jul;98 Suppl 2(Suppl 2):ii40-6. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24599420
- Houston SK, Wykoff CC, Berrocal AM, Hess DJ, Murray TG. Lasers for the treatment of intraocular tumors. Lasers Med Sci. 2013 May;28(3):1025-34. pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22302638