Q:

What does it mean when there are grey spots on the whites of eyes?

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Quick Answer

Scleral melanocytosis, amelanotic conjunctival nevi and scleral thinning are three eye conditions associated with gray spots on the whites of eyes, explains EyeSmart. The first two are benign conditions but still require monitoring by an eye health professional because they are associated with potential development of eye diseases.

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Ocular melanocytosis is a congenital condition that manifests as slate-gray or bluish patchiness on the sclera, the white portion of the eye, explains the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Although the condition itself is benign, individuals with it have a higher incidence of glaucoma and are at a higher risk for melanoma. Slate-gray patches caused by scleral melanocytosis are especially common in African-American and Asian children.

A nevus, such as one seen in individuals with amelanotic conjunctival nevi, is a pigmented growth on the eye that is usually benign, notes EyeSmart. However, nevi can develop into eye cancer, called ocular melanoma, in uncommon cases. People with nevi should have the growths monitored by a health care professional to ensure early detection if cancer develops.

Thinning of the sclera can occur as a result of defects in the way the body synthesizes collagen, explains the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Some defects that can lead to this condition include Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan's syndrome and osteogenesis imperfecta.

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