What is racial melanosis?

What is racial melanosis?

Racial melanosis is a benign, bilateral condition found most frequently in darkly pigmented people and characterized by a flat conjunctival pigmentation. These lesions are generally seen at the limbus. Racial melanosis rarely evolves into a conjunctival melanoma.

What is Pam eye?

Conjunctival primary acquired melanosis (PAM) is a painless flat brown spot on the eye that might superficially look like a freckle. It changes very slowly over time. It can be found in children and adults and typically occurs on only one eye.

Can racial melanosis be removed?

Yes, you can. At AEI, we remove Conjunctival Nevi for 2 common reasons: a suspicious appearance, or if they appear cosmetically undesirable to the patient. If melanoma is suspected, your eye doctor will recommend an excisional biopsy, in other words removing the pigmented lesion surgically.

What causes racial melanosis?

This benign entity is the result of epithelial melanocytes producing excessive melanin which is transferred into surrounding keratinocytes. Typically racial melanosis is bilateral, asymmetric, occurs in the interpalpebral fissures, and does not contain cysts4.

Can melanosis grow?

Racial melanosis of the conjunctiva should not grow. A nevus of the conjunctiva does not typically grow (except at puberty). They do not usually extend onto the cornea or develop large feeder blood vessels.

Is Primary acquired melanosis benign?

PAM usually occurs unilaterally in middle-aged individuals (mostly Caucasians) and accounts for 11% of all conjunctival tumors and for 21% of all conjunctival melanocytic lesions [2]. It can either be regarded as benign (PAM without atypia) or as a precancerous lesion (PAM with atypia) [3,4,5,6,7].

What is PAM with atypia?

PAM without atypia is defined as pigmentation of the conjunctival epithelium with or without benign melanocytic hyperplasia. PAM with atypia is characterized by the presence of atypical melanocytic hyperplasia.

Can melanosis spread?

Iris melanosis usually occurs in only one eye, but may occur in both eyes. Over time, the pigmented area often spreads to other parts of the iris. Iris melanosis may be a benign (harmless) condition, or it may cause secondary glaucoma if the pigmented area spreads and blocks intraocular fluid drainage.

How is primary acquired melanosis treated?

The main treatment for PAM with atypia is surgery (surgical excision) with or without freezing therapy (cryotherapy) and Mitomycin C (MMC).

What is the difference between melanosis and melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of tumor, arising from the pigmented cells within the eye. In dogs, these tumors are usually benign but expansion can lead to secondary glaucoma. In cats, tumors are more likely to spread to other areas of the body. Melanosis is a non-cancerous tissue pigmentation, similar to a skin freckle.

In which diseases common melanosis occurs?


  • Arsenic.
  • Pigment.
  • Melanin.
  • Ulcer.
  • Neoplasm.
  • Nevus.
  • Hyperpigmentation.
  • Melanocytosis.

How common is primary acquired melanosis?

Primary acquired melanosis of the conjunctiva (PAM) is a potentially serious melanocytic lesion that can lead to the development of melanoma. In a practice of ocular oncology, PAM accounted for 11% of all conjunctival tumors and 21% of melanocytic lesions.

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