Why do people have brown spots in their eyes?

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Why do people have brown spots in their eyes?
Freckles can appear on the white of the eye ("Free Eye and Snowflaked Lashes Creative Commons" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: Pink Sherbet Photography (D. Sharon Pruitt) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

Brown spots in the eye are a cosmetic condition similar to freckles. The brown spots are painless and usually harmless, although spots that occur suddenly, change in shape or size or that accompany vision problems should be examined by a doctor.

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Brown spots in the eyes are areas of pigment on the white of the eye. The white of the eye is a thin membrane over the eyeball, called the sclera. The exterior of the sclera is normally smooth and white.


Brown spots on the white of the eye are caused by melatonin, the same substance that causes freckles and moles on the skin. Brown spots on the eyes can occur at any time, and can increase in number, but do not fade or disappear once they have appeared.


Brown spots on the white part of the eyeball occur more often in dark-skinned people, especially people of African heritage. They are also more common in people who freckle heavily in the sun.


Brown spots on the eye cannot be cured or removed. To prevent more brown spots from appearing, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses to protect the eyes from sunlight.


If brown spots on the eyes occur in conjunction with vision problems, or if they change in size or shape, consult an ophthalmologist--a doctor who specialises in diseases and treatment of the eye.

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