The New England Journal of Medicine published a case report on Jan. 2 about 19-year-old who has a rare tumor which caused him to have a hairy eyeball, says a Yahoo! report. Researchers say the tumor, which is called a limbal dermoid, had been there since birth and it caused hair growth on his eyeball.
The benign tumor steadily got bigger until it reached a size of approximately 5 mm in diameter, which is almost a quarter inch. Tabriz University researches say that after the size increased, small black hairs started to appear.
There are very few cases of this rare tumor and Dr. Mark Fromer of Fromer Eye Centers says:
"An eye doctor may see just one or two cases during his career. These tumors contain tissue normally found in another part of the body. Most frequently, limbal dermoids contain hair follicles, but they can also contain other tissues, including cartilage and sweat glands."
A common side effect of these tumors is usually astigmatism, which is nothing too serious. When you hear the words "hairy eyeball tumor", you may think to yourself that the condition has to be pretty painful and serious. However this is not always the case, according to Fromer, who is also an ophthalmologist. The tumors don't normally cause major vision problems because they usually don't cover the cornea's center, which is essential to proper eyesight, Fromer stated.
"Limbal dermoids can be removed for cosmetic reasons, but their removal typically doesn’t change patients' eyesight, Fromer said."
The 19-year-old man with the hairy eyeball tumor reported minor discomfort and loss of vision in the afflicted eye, and later had it surgically removed.