Among the tumors that may develop in the conjunctiva of pediatric patients, most are epithelial and melanocytic in origin.
Reviewed by Jacob J. Pe’er, MD
Clinicians know the conjunctiva to be a thin, translucent, vascularized mucous membrane comprised of numerous elements, said Jacob J. Pe’er, MD. Because the tissue is external, it is exposed to chemical, physical, and biologic agents that can predispose the tissue to tumors of epithelial, melanocytic, and stromal origins. The vast majority of tumors in children arise from the first two.
“Most conjunctival tumors in children are rare and usually benign and include epithelial tumors, such as squamous papillomas and nevi,” said Dr. Pe’er, the Jonas Friedenwald Professor of Ophthalmic Research, Department of Ophthalmology, Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center, Jerusalem.
“The rare malignant tumors, such as melanoma and lymphoma, are usually larger and develop in older children,” he added. “Xeroderma pigmentosa may cause malignant conjunctival tumors in children.”
Evaluation of patients who present with a conjunctival abnormality includes an external ocular examination, slit lamp examination, fluorescein or rose bengal staining, documentation by drawing or photography, and histopathologic diagnosis.
Jacob J. Pe’er, MD
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This article was adapted from Dr. Pe’er’s presentation during Cornea Subspecialty Day at the 2018 meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Dr. Pe’er has no financial interests to disclose related to this report.