Turns Out Not Wearing Sunglasses Causes EYE FRECKLES

Lisa Patulny


Growing up in Australia all but guarantees a few things; it’s a safe bet you once had a Dollarmites account, have stepped on at least one bindi and remember the “Slip, Slop, Slap” song every summer.

With the rules of sun protection drilled into us from an early age, it’s easy to think we’ve got it covered when it comes to avoiding UV damage. We know we need to cover up, apply sunscreen (Invisible Zinc's 4HR Water Resistant SPF 50+, $22, is a good pick for beach days) and stay out of the sun between peak UV times. Regularly checking freckles and moles is also important, but did you know that these sun-induced spots can appear in your eyes too?

Optometrist Peter Larsen (who is also the director of professional services at Specsavers), was kind enough to give us the lowdown on eye freckles, aka choroidal nevus. The biggest takeway? Be alert but not alarmed. Just like regular freckles, spots in your eyes are usually benign but should be monitored. Keep reading for everything you need to know about eye freckles!


Byrdie: First off, what are eye freckles?

Peter Larsen: Spots in the eye—also known as nevus or choroidal nevus—are most commonly benign and a form of pigmentation or discolouration, which can be flat or elevated. Just as freckles, moles and birthmarks can appear on your skin, a nevus can be found inside your eye or on the lid. There is a slight chance they can develop into a melanoma, so it is important to have them checked by an optometrist or doctor regularly. If you have a nevus and it changes colour, size or shape, you should have it examined as a matter of priority.

B: What causes them?

PL: Sun exposure is generally the cause of a nevus. They are very common and are similar to moles, which are either hereditary and there since birth, or have developed over time. Most people will see nevi develop when they’re roughly between the ages of five and 15 years old.

B: Are certain people more susceptible?

PL: Those with pale skin and blue eyes, along with people who work outdoors tend to be more susceptible to developing nevi.

B: How can they be prevented?

PL: Sun can be a trigger factor, so it’s really important keep your eyes safe by wearing lenses that block UV. Polarising is a great option. It eliminates 99.9% of glare, and offers 100% UV protection for your eyes. As well as sunglasses, it is a good idea to wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide shade for your face.

B: Do nevi cause any complications beyond an aesthetic change?

PL: Generally, a nevus won’t affect your vision, however in some instances they can develop into a melanoma. Warning signs include: if it’s not symmetrical, is itchy or bleeds. As with any other mole, if you spot these symptoms make sure you visit your optometrist and doctor to get it examined.


Had you heard of choroidal nevus before? Will this info encourage you to invest in new sunglasses? Click here to shop Specsavers' range of prescription frames.

Opening photo: Imaxtree

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