What are these brown spots in my eyes?

brown spotsYou may have noticed these brown spots in your own eye while looking in the mirror or in someone else’s eye when you’re making close eye contact with them. It’s probably best not to comment to another person about any eye spots you notice, but if you’re looking at your own reflection, it’s normal to ask what’s going on with these brown spots and why.

Brown Spots on Your Eyes

Your first thought is probably, “Are these brown spots dangerous?” Really the answer could be yes or no. There are many reasons for discoloration on the sclera or the white part of your eyeball or within the iris, the colored part of your eye.

These spots are slight discolorations due to pigmentation in the eye and are referred to as “choroidal nevus.” The easiest thing to compare them to would be freckles, because they are caused by the same substance, melanin. Eye freckles can range from light gray to black and vary in size and shape as you grow and age. They typically show up around the same time as skin freckles, usually during the first decade of life.

It’s important to keep track of any changes in the size and color of your eye spot. Many things can darken the spot including sunlight, medications or hormonal changes such as pregnancy. Once they occur, they don’t fade or disappear and cannot be removed, unless there is a medical reason to do so. These spots are typically benign and won’t cause any type of vision impairment or pain. Troublesome spots or eye spots that transform into a malignant mass and be treated with surgery or radiation therapy. To lessen the frequency at which they occur, you can limit the amount of sun exposure your eyes endure by wearing a great pair of full coverage sunglasses.

If you develop any type of eye spot, please visit an optometrist or ophthalmologist so they can assess the situation. Remember that eye spots can happen to anyone, but show up more frequently in those of African descent and are also more common on those who naturally freckle a great deal in the sun.

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24 Responses

  1. Diane says:

    I just want to say, thank you for this article. Since, I haven’t seen an eye doctor in years(can’t afford it). I noticed this brown spot on my eye, a few years ago. And, I’ve always wondered what it was. Why I just now searched it, after so long, I don’t know, but I’m glad I did. I now have my answer. Thanks again, and I hope soon, I will be able to go get an eye exam.

    • Stacey says:

      Eye exams at America’s Best are just $45 (or free if you purchase two pairs of glasses – starting at $69.95). Hope you’re able to get your exam soon!

  2. Mina says:

    I have had one of these on my eye since I was a cute little tot! I never knew what it was so thanks for the info :)

  3. chandni says:

    Thank you for the consoling information. I would also like to know if the spots caused by injuries can be cured.

  4. bilal says:

    i have two of these one in each eye, they had me worried sick.thanks a lot

  5. Michelle says:

    Eye doctor found brown spot on my eye. In our family there is a history of melanoma. My brother died 3 years ago. Should I be concern?

    • Andy says:

      Hi Michelle! That’s a very good question. Unfortunately, we can’t give medical opinions for individual patients online. We would recommend following up with the eye doctor who found the spot, or getting a second opinion from another medical professional, maybe your family physician or an ophthalmologist. Thank you for your question, I hope everything works out for the best!

  6. Lydia says:

    Hi

    I want to know if the spots can be treated without surgery ? And is it risky to do the surgery to remove it??

    • Andy says:

      Hi Lydia,

      Thank you for your question. Every medical situation is different, and it wouldn’t be fair for me to give you advice on the subject without having the right amount of information. The best thing to do would be to call your optometrist and get his or her professional opinion. Can I help you find one of ours?

  7. Shawna says:

    Hello
    I read on another site that fish oil will help with brown spots on the eye. Is there any truth to that?

    • Andy says:

      Hi Shawna,

      Fish oil has a number of health benefits, including being full of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to pigmentation. Still, I recommend checking with your doctor before making any changes to your diet. Thank you for your question!

      -Andy

  8. Ellen says:

    can the brown spot be removed? If yes, how? I wish i could remove it

    • Andy says:

      Hi Ellen,

      Brown spots usually can’t be removed, but most of the time they are purely cosmetic. If you feel concerned about them, I recommend seeing an eyecare professional and having them take a look. Let me know if you’d like me to help you find one. Thanks for your question!

      -Andy

  9. Holly says:

    I had a rather large brown spot appear on my right when I was in the second grade (so 7 years old) and it disappeared about 4 years ago at the age of 42. I have a complicated medical history to include fibromuscular dysplasia (which caused 2 strokes from 5 cerebral aneurysms, 2 craniotomies, renal angioplasty, breast cancer and ehlors danlos syndrome. I just wonder if the appearance and subsequent disappearance of this spot has any relation. I do have Sicca as well.

  10. petal james says:

    since i knew my self the whites of my eyes looked slightly brown and it has two three dark brown spots. my dad has the same kind of eyes and so did my dad’s whole side of family. thanks for this article i was wondering if something was wrong with me

  11. Prince says:

    My son is 8 months old, he’s having that kind of a mark and it seems to be changing the shape as he grows. Is it the same as the one caused by the sunlight?

    • Stacey says:

      Thanks for writing. We would recommend having an optometrist or your pediatrician have a look at your son’s eyes.

  12. Krys says:

    Just a note here, but if you need to see an eye doctor for these (as I have had to take my son for his) – you should be seeing an OPTHALMOLOGIST, not an Optometrist. There is a HUGE difference. Optometrists are strictly for vision needs, ie: glasses or contacts. Opthalmologists are doctors of the eye, and all that includes. Blood vessels, diseases, tissue, I mean everything. Optometrists will most likely see you, and even give you an opinion, but they are NOT medical doctors – they have not had the same rigorous schooling or training that an MD has. So please take yourselves to an actual doctor of the eye to be evaluated.

  13. Just a regular Person (maybe) says:

    I had there brown spots since as long as i can remember(remembered tellimg people when in1st grade). This helped a lot 😀

  14. Jenell Carpenter says:

    Can you use your same old lenses even if they are the same Priscribed to wear .

    • Claire Rozeman says:

      Hi Jenell,
      If your prescription hasn’t changed, it’s probably OK to use contacts you’ve previously purchased as long as they’re not expired. Check the expiration date on the boxes to ensure you’re not using expired lenses that will be less effective. Please let me know if you have any other questions.

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