ZocdocAnswersDoes a child with melanosis occuli have a higher chance of getting melanoma?

Question

Does a child with melanosis occuli have a higher chance of getting melanoma?

My 5 year old daughter has a strange color / shape on her eye that was diagnosed by our doctor as melanosis oculi. Is it true that this puts her at a long-term risk for melanoma? If so, why? If we take steps to protect her skin from the sun, will it cut back on this risk appreciably?

Answer

Ocular melanosis, or melanosis occuli, is a rare condition which parents of child who have it often have questions about. The doctors who will be well qualified to discuss this issue with you in greater detail include your child's pediatrician and eye doctor. Ocular melanosis is a relatively rare condition in which pigmented cells collect in the eye and give a different color. This is basically like a mole on the skin, i.e., a collection of pigmented cells, or melanocytes. Ocular melanosis does care a risk later in life of developing ocular melanoma, or cancer of the eye. The total risk of developing melanoma is still quite low, just higher than for people who do not have ocular melanosis. Generally, the way ocular melanosis is managed is by have yearly full eye exams by your child's eye doctor to detected for any early signs of melanoma. Other than this yearly surveillance, there is little evidence that, for example, staying out of the sun recreationally, will help reduce the risk. As always the diagnosis and the management of your child's particular condition will require a physical examination by her personal physician. Setting up an office visit with your pediatrician and eye doctor is recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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