What is Scleral Melanocytosis? - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

 What is Scleral Melanocytosis?

Scleral melanocytosis is a disorder marked by an excess of melanocytes, or pigment-producing cells, in the sclera, the white outer layer of the eye. Due to the fact that persons with dark skin, especially those with African, Asian, or Native American ancestry, are more likely to experience this disorder, it is also known as "racial melanosis".

A higher concentration of melanocytes in the sclera causes blue-gray or brown areas of pigmentation on the white portion of the eye. There are typically no symptoms or eyesight issues because of the benign nature of the illness. Yet, in extremely rare circumstances, it could also be linked to eye malignancies such as uveal melanoma or glaucoma.

Typically, an ophthalmologist will conduct a thorough eye examination to identify scleral melanocytosis. Although periodic monitoring is advised to make sure there is no evidence of problems, treatment is typically not required. Seeking medical help right away is advised if a patient feels any abnormalities in vision or if the pigmentation spreads quickly.


Scleral melanocytosis is a typical childhood disorder that often manifests bilaterally and gets more pronounced with age. Those of Asian heritage are more likely to have this benign disease. In the scleral tissue, the disease is characterized by pigmentation that is either black or gray-blue.

What is Scleral Melanocytosis - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment


Scleral melanocytosis frequently manifests itself in the form of spots of black or gray-blue pigmentation that are bilateral in the distribution in the sclerae. It is a benign disorder that exhibits no symptoms. Because of the higher incidence of uveal melanoma among Caucasians, it is important that they be closely monitored for this condition. Glaucoma may result from an ocular melanoma that is progressing. Eye pain, eye redness, and hazy vision are all potential glaucoma signs and symptoms.


Scleral melanocytosis is thought to be a benign hereditary disorder, while its specific source is unknown. Those with dark skin, especially those with African, Asian, or Native American ancestry, are more likely to have the illness.

Scleral melanocytosis is characterized by an increase in the number of melanocytes, which are cells that create pigment, in the sclera, which is the outermost layer of the white part of the eye. The sclera becomes dark or blue-gray in color as a result. The rise in melanocytes may be attributed to hereditary reasons or exposure to environmental conditions, such as UV light.


Scleral melanocytosis is a harmless condition that does not require treatment specifically. Scleral melanocytosis in Caucasians is linked to a higher risk of uveal melanoma, hence lifelong ophthalmologic screening is recommended. Patients with oculodermal melanocytosis are advised to have yearly glaucoma and malignant melanoma screenings by an ophthalmologist and dermatologist.

Cosmetic procedures like scleral tattooing may be explored if the patient's pigmentation significantly impacts his eye's look and causes them significant emotional anguish. Yet since there are risks involved, this treatment should only be carried out by qualified experts.

If the pigmentation is related to an underlying ailment, such as glaucoma or uveal melanoma, the treatment will be determined by that condition. Glaucoma can be controlled with medicine or surgery, whereas uveal melanoma can be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, or a combination.

What is Scleral Melanocytosis? - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment What is Scleral Melanocytosis? - Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment Reviewed by Simon Albert on March 02, 2023 Rating: 5
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