Hairy Eyeball Tumor: How Does Hair Grow On An Eye? [PHOTO]

By iScienceTimes Staff Reporter on January 3, 2013 9:08 AM EST

Hairy Eyeball
A rare tumor caused a 19-year-old to grow hair on his eyeball (Photo: NEJM)

A hairy eyeball tumor caused a 19-year-old man to sprout hair from his eyeball, and while it posed no real danger or caused any damage, the hairy eyeball tumor is a shocking site to see. Researchers from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran studied the hairy eyeball tumor, and published a report in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.

The hairy eyeball tumor, known as a limbal dermoid, was present in the man since birth and benign. The hairy eyeball tumor grew in size until it reached 5mm in diameter (less than quarter of an inch) and sprouted several long, black hairs.

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Hairy eyeball tumors can sometimes cause astigmatism, but don't typically dramatically affect a patient's vision. And while limbal dermoids are often removed for cosmetic reasons, doing so doesn't affect eyesight either.

The 19-year-old with the hairy eyeball tumor had mild discomfort in his eye, and had it removed with surgery. He is expected to make a full recovery.

"The appearance of the mass, with hairs present, was indicative of limbal dermoid," the researchers wrote in the study, according to the Inquisitr. The lesion was excised, and lamellar keratoplasty was performed for cosmetic reasons. Pathological findings confirmed the diagnosis of limbal dermoid. As expected, there was little improvement in visual acuity after surgery because of the amblyopia and induced astigmatism."

Limbal dermoids can also contain more than just hair, according to Medscape.

"[Limbal dermoids are] benign congenital tumors that contain choristomatous tissue (tissue not found normally at that site)," Medscape says. "They may contain a variety of histologically aberrant tissues, including epidermal appendages, connective tissue, skin, fat, sweat gland, lacrimal gland, muscle, teeth, cartilage, bone, vascular structures, and neurologic tissue, including the brain." 

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