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"Is choroidal pigmentation normal?"

ZocdocAnswersIs choroidal pigmentation normal?


My son is getting looked at for ""choroidal pigmentation"" which he tells me can sometimes be cancerous. How normal is this situation? What are the chances that, upon closer examination, they'll find that he does have eye cancer? How will they make this decision?


The choroid is one of the layers of tissue inside the eyeball, located just behind the retina. Its function is to provide oxygen and nourishment to the retina; furthermore it is very darkly pigmented with melanin to prevent stray light from reflecting around the eye. "Freckles" in this pigment of the choroid are very common and usually benign. However, occasionally, these "freckles" produced by cells in the choroid that make the melanin pigment can give rise to a choroidal melanoma, a type of cancer. A choroidal melanoma is usually picked up on a routine eye exam by an eye doctor, as it usually does not produce symptoms until very large. Sometimes a biopsy is needed to confirm the diagnosis, although rarely, and ultrasound of the eye may also be used to further investigate. Patients with choroidal melanoma often do better than patients with regular skin melanomas, because the propensity for the melanoma to spread out of the eye is less. However, choroidal melanoma is still a very serious problem, and treatment and prognosis for larger tumors is poor. Therefore, it is very important that your son get this choroidal pigmentation checked out thoroughly by his eye doctor to make certain this is not what he is dealing with.

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