Choroidal Naevus

This is a benign (non-cancerous) growth of pigmented cells in the choroid of the eye. The choroid is an essential layer that supports the healthy functioning of the retina. Choroidal naevi are very common, and can affect up to 10% of Caucasian people. Choroidal naevi are typically found as an incidental finding by an optician at a routine eye test.

Choroidal Naevus

This is a benign (non-cancerous) growth of pigmented cells in the choroid of the eye. The choroid is an essential layer that supports the healthy functioning of the retina. Choroidal naevi are very common, and can affect up to 10% of Caucasian people. Choroidal naevi are typically found as an incidental finding by an optician at a routine eye test.

What are the symptoms of choroidal naevi?

Most people with a choroidal naevus will not have any symptoms. They are usually seen by an optometrist during an eye test and referred to an ophthalmologist for further review.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

It is wise to investigate pigmented lesions in the eye to understand them fully. Common tests that are done include:

  • Colour photography (especially widefield images) – this can help spot changes over time
  • Autofluorescence imaging – this is a bright light photograph of the retina
  • OCT scanning – this is a test that can image the retina in great detail
  • Ultrasound B scan – this is similar to the test done on pregnant women to check the health of the baby

This is a scoring system that helps identify choroidal naevi that may become cancerous. The scoring is out of 10. The Royal College of Ophthalmologists classifies naevi based on this score:

  • Score 0 out of 10: common naevus – can be monitored by the optician
  • Score 1 out of 10: low risk naevus – can be monitored by optician or ophthalmologist
  • Score 2 out of 10: high risk naevus – monitoring by ophthalmologist
  • Score 3 out of 10: probable melanoma – referral to ocular oncologist

Most choroidal naevi will never cause a problem. The estimated risk of becoming cancerous is less than 1 in 5,000 so they can be safely monitored by an optician. Should they have any features that increases this risk, they will need monitoring by an ophthalmologist. Only a very small group of naevi are deemed high risk. These will need more close monitoring or possibly even referral to an ocular oncologist.