Disease causes hair to grow on man's eyeball

Eyeball tumor with hair 
By: Sarah Weiss  

(Scroll down for video) A rare disease caused hair to grow on a man’s eyeball, according to medical researchers in Iran.

A rare tumor in a 19-year-old man, caused hair to grow on his eyeball.

The tumor, called a limbal dermoid, was benign and had been present in the man from birth.

Gradually, the tumor grew in size until it was about 5 mm in diameter or a little less than a quarter of an inch and several black hairs sprouted, researchers from Tabriz University of Medical Sciences located in Iran, said.

Limbal dermoids are rare, as an eye doctor can see only one or two cases during a career, Dr. Mark Fromer, director of Fromer Eye Centers in New York and an ophthalmologist at Lenox Hill Hospital, who is not involved in this case, said. These tumors contain tissue that are normally elsewhere in the body. Most often, the limbal dermoid contains hair follicles, but may also contain other tissues, including cartilage and sweat glands, Fromer said.

These tumors can cause astigmatism meaning blurred vision, but usually do not cause dramatic vision problems, Fromer said. This is because they normally do not cover the center of the cornea, an important part of the eye for viewing, Fromer said.
Limbal dermoid can be removed for cosmetic reasons.

Fromer currently has a patient with a limbal dermoid containing hairs, but she did not want it removed. "It has not grown or changed and it did not bother her physically," Fromer said.

The Iranian man had mild discomfort and loss of vision in the eye with the tumor and it was removed with surgery.