Q: What is the spot on my eye ?
A: The cornea is the transplant tissue in front of the eyeball which allows light to enter the eye so we can see.
The cornea is surrounded by a white layer of tissue known as sclera.
The sclera wraps around most of the eyeball from the cornea to the back where the optic nerve connects the eye to the brain.
The sclera is covered by conjunctiva, which is a thin layer of transparent tissue in the front half of the eye.
The eye looks white because of the color of sclera. Color spots can appear on the eye surface due to changes of the conjunctiva or sclera.
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Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a red spot from a broken blood vessel in the conjunctiva.
The blood lies between the conjunctiva and sclera. It is usually associated with sneezing, coughing or straining.
It can happen spontaneously and especially when taking blood thinners. It is usually asymptomatic and goes away by itself.
Yellow spots are usually pinguecula, or pterygium.
Pinguecula is a yellowish elevated growth in the conjunctiva associated with excessive sunlight exposure.
Pterygium (surfer’s eye) usually starts as pinguecula and grows to cover part of the cornea.
The eyes with pterygium or pinguecula can feel scratchy, burning and swollen.
Artificial tears help to relieve the symptoms. If the pterygium grows sufficiently large to cause chronic irritation or visual distortion, surgery to remove the pterygium may be necessary.
Sunglasses and large brim hats help to protect the eyes from ultraviolet rays from the sun.
Brown spots can range from benign to life-threatening.
Melanin, the natural skin pigment that gives skin, hair and iris of the eye a darker color can deposit in the sclera.
These brown patches are more common among African Americans and are completely harmless.
Conjunctival nevus is freckle in the conjunctiva.
Its color can range from light yellow to dark brown.
It can appear at birth or later in life. It is usually not cancerous.
Regular check-up by an ophthalmologist is recommended when nevus develops later in life or it grows bigger.
Conjunctival melanoma is a rare cancer on the conjunctiva.
If there is a suspicion of conjunctival melanoma, a piece of tissue is biopsied and studied in a laboratory.
Conjunctival melanoma is treated by an ocular oncologist with chemotherapy eye drops, surgery, freezing treatment or radiation.
When the whites of the eyes are not right, it is time to schedule an evaluation with an ophthalmologist.
Fortunately, most spots on the eye surface are benign and an eye examination provides peace of mind.
If there is cancerous growth, timely diagnosis and treatment helps to preserve the eye.
Dr. Frederick Ho, the medical director of Atlantic Eye MD and Atlantic Surgery and Laser Center, is a board certified ophthalmologist. Atlantic Eye MD is located at 8040 N. Wickham Road in Melbourne. To make an appointment please call (321) 757-7272. To learn more visit AtlanticEyeMD.com.
This article originally appeared on Florida Today: A spot on your eye can be one of many things. Here's are potential causes