Only yesterday, the New England Journal of Medicine witnessed the publication of a new study concerning how a very rare tumor caused a 19-year-old to grow hair on his eyeball.Specialists refer to this type of tumors as limbal dermoids, and explain that they are made up of otherwise normal tissue. The only problem is that, rather than growing where it should, the tissue grows in other parts of the body.
Thus, limbal dermoids may contain hair follicles, cartilage and sweat glands, and whenever such tissues start forming and growing in places where they do not belong, peculiar conditions such as said hairy eyeball begin to manifest themselves.
“A 19-year-old man presented to our ophthalmology clinic with a mass in his right eye that had been present since birth but had gradually increased in size. He did not have pain, but the mass caused vision defects, mild discomfort on blinking, and the intermittent sensation of the presence of a foreign body,” reads the New England Journal of Medicine.
Furthermore, “The appearance of the mass, with hairs present, was indicative of limbal dermoid.”
According to My Health News Daily, this very rare tumor measured about 5 mm (about a quarter of an inch) in diameter, and had to be surgically removed as a result of its negatively impacting on the Iranian man's eyesight and of its bothering the patient.
However, it seems that no significant progress was made in terms of restoring the 19-year-old's visual acuity.
“As expected, there was little improvement in visual acuity after surgery because of the amblyopia [i.e. the loss of one eye's ability to see details] and induced astigmatism [i.e. a condition that causes blurred vision],” the New England Journal of Medicine goes on to explain.
Interestingly enough, it seems that some of the patients who develop such tumors and end up having hairy eyeballs choose not to have their problem surgically fixed, primarily because they are not physically bothered by the hairs and/or the tumor.
Thus, limbal dermoids such as this one can sometimes only cause cosmetic issues.