It's the end of the year and you are running out of time to use your benefits! Did you know your vision plan and Flex Spending Accounts (FSA) may reset at the first of the year? Did you know that you could use FSA and HSA (Health Savings Accounts) for eye exams AND materials like glasses, contacts, and sunglasses? Well, there is no better time than the present to take advantage of your benefits: Now through December 31st, BUY ONE complete set of frame and lenses, GET ONE complete set of frame and lens FREE! Some exclusions apply and sales may not be combined with insurance, however, we have specials for patients using insurance as well. Call our office today to schedule your eye exam!

What Are Eye Freckles and Are They Harmless?

Woman with eye freckles

Are Eye Freckles a Reason to Worry?

Freckles can appear anywhere on your body, including your eyes. Although eye freckles are often harmless, they can be a sign of cancer in some cases.

How Do Eye Freckles Form?

A freckle develops when melanocytes clump together in your eye. Melanocytes are cells that give your hair, eyes, and skin their color. Freckles are particularly common in the iris, the colored part of your eye. In fact, about half of all people have flecks of color in their irises, according to WebMD.

You may also have a slightly bigger type of freckle called a nevus (or nevi if you have more than one). Freckles on your skin are usually brown, but nevi can be brown, yellow, or gray. They may also be made up of multiple colors. Nevi can be present at birth or develop later in life.

What Parts of the Eye Do Nevi Have an Effect On?

Nevi can appear in these parts of your eye:

  • Choroid. These nevi are located under the retina, the layer of light-sensing cells at the back of the eye. Although you cannot see a choroidal nevus by looking in the mirror, your optometrist can see it when he or she looks in your eyes during an eye examination. A choroid nevus could be a sign that you have melanoma, a form of skin cancer, although that's usually not the case. In fact, only 1 in 500 choroidal nevi become cancerous in 10 years, according to the Ocular Melanoma Foundation.
  • Iris. Iris nevi are larger than iris freckles and are found in the stroma, one of the layers that make up the iris. These freckles sometimes get bigger, although they're usually not cancerous.
  • Conjunctiva. A nevus may also appear in the conjunctiva, the clear layer of tissue that covers the inside of your eyelids and the whites of your eyes. These nevi are usually harmless but could become cancerous.

How Are Eye Freckles Treated?

In most cases, there's no need to treat an eye freckle. Your optometrist will monitor your freckle to make sure that it has not gotten any bigger. If that happens, your eye doctor may recommend a few tests that will determine if the nevus has become cancerous. Tests may also be needed if a choroidal nevus turns orange, becomes raised, or begins to leak fluid, as these symptoms could be signs of melanoma, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Surgery can be used to remove nevi, although eye doctors like to avoid removal if possible, as a surgical procedure could damage your eyesight. Laser therapy and radiation can be helpful in treating cancerous freckles.

Be sure to let your optometrist know if you notice a change in a freckle, you are having trouble with your vision, or you are seeing flashing lights. Don't wait for your annual eye examination to report these changes. Call the eye doctor's office right away.

How Can I Prevent Eye Freckles?

Although most eye freckles can't be prevented, there's a possibility that ultraviolet light could play a role in the development of choroidal nevi, according to the AAO.

Wearing sunglasses year-round is a simple way to reduce your risk. Look for sunglasses that block both ultraviolet A and B rays. Wrap-around styles offer the best protection from the effects of the sun.

Are you concerned about an eye freckle? Give our office a call and we'll arrange a convenient appointment for you.

Sources:

American Academy of Ophthalmology: Nevus (Eye Freckle), 10/28/20

WebMD: What Are Eye Freckles?, 8/6/19

Ocular Melanoma Foundation: Understanding Choroidal Nevi

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Testimonials

  • While vacationing in Orange Beach, I had something that jabbed me in the eye and punctured my cornea. I called the Orange Beach office and they got me in quickly. The staff was so friendly and helpful. Dr. Leonard explained things very well and put me at ease. Hats off...

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  • I have been going to Dr. Leonard for over 20 years. She always gives me the best honest answers &/or suggestions. I trust her to the fullest. I now take my 3 year old daughter to Dr. Leonard as well. My eye insurance isn’t accepted there anymore but I don’t...

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  • Everyone has such a warm personality that it makes you feel like a friend! Excellent service....

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  • I am here @ Orange beach for vacation & one of my contacts washed away in the ocean. My family and I are from Texas, so I called the very next day. I literally had a pair of contacts waiting on me in 5 minutes to be picked up. Ms....

    - Lauren G. - Google Review
  • I was very impressed by the Dr. and staff at Coastal Family Eyecare. From the moment I walked through the door I was met with professional, caring and very knowledgeable people. I highly recommend them and will be returning for all my future vision needs....

    - Maureen M. - Google Review

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Hours of Operation

Our Regular Schedule

Orange Beach Office

Monday

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tuesday

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Wednesday

9:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday

CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Friday

CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Pensacola Office

Monday

Closed

Tuesday

Closed

Wednesday

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Thursday

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Friday

Closed

Saturday

Closed

Sunday

Closed

Orange Beach Office

Monday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Tuesday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Wednesday
9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Thursday
CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Friday
CLOSED FOR THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

Pensacola Office

Monday
Closed
Tuesday
Closed
Wednesday
Closed
Thursday
Closed
Friday
Closed
Saturday
Closed
Sunday
Closed

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