Researchers have reported that a rare type of tumor called a limbal dermoid can cause hair growth on a human’s eyeball! It sounds like something you might read about in a Stephen King novel, but apparently not – medical professionals say this can really happen!! Thankfully however, it is an incredibly uncommon condition!
Researchers from the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran said a 19-year-old man had had the limbal dermoid tumor since birth. The tumor was benign but grew gradually over the years until it was about 5mm in diameter and then it sprouted several black hairs!
The tumor began to cause the man mild discomfort and vision loss, so it was surgically removed.
Dr. Mark Fromer, director of Fromer Eye Centers in New York City and an ophthalmologist at Lennox Hill Hospital said that this type of tumor is very rare – he said a doctor may see just one or two cases during his career. That’s not nearly rare enough for me!!
Dr. Fromer was not involved in the case of the 19-year-old Iranian man, but has his own patient with a limbal dermoid that contains hairs. However his patient has opted not to have it removed, he said; “It hasn’t grown or changed and it doesn’t physically bother her,” so she has not gone for surgery.
Limbal dermoid tumors usually contain hair follicles but can also contain other tissues including cartilage and sweat glands. Dr. Fromer said that they can cause astigmatism (blurry vision) but do not usually lead to serious vision problems because they usually do not cover the center of the cornea.
Source: Discovery News