Milton Kahn, M.D., a NJ Retina Specialist asked “What could having a colonoscopy for colon cancer risk possibly have to do with your eyes?” As it turns out-plenty! The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is a layer of the retina which can sometimes be thicker than normal at birth-or “hypertrophic, however they usually do not cause any vision problems or symptoms.
Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) is typically found before patients reach 30 years of age. These areas may enlarge with time but usually do not lead to malignancies like colon cancer. However, there is an association between people with Gardner's Syndrome-Familial Colonic Polyposes-or polyps of the colon, and CHRPE. If your eye doctor has told you that you have Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy-perhaps called “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles”, it is important to carefully explore and review your family history with a Gastroenterologist who will likely schedule you for a colonoscopy. CHRPE has a “statistically significant” correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP. It may be that the freckles are caused by the same genetic mutation that produces the polyps. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.
Thus-when we are over 50 years of age, the reasons to have yearly eye exams includes not only detecting cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases, but regular eye examinations may very well be a reminder to be screened via colonoscopy to help detect early risks and potential indicators of colon cancer.
If you have questions or need an appointment to learn more about “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles” please call The Eye Care & Surgery Center at 908-789-8999, visit The Eye Care & Surgery Center or facebook.com/eyecareandsurgerycenter.
The Eye Care & Surgery Center is staffed by a team of Board Certified NJ Ophthalmologists who are subspecialty Fellowship trained New Jersey eye surgeons, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, surgery for cataracts, intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma, reconstructive and cosmetic facial surgery including eyelid surgery and facial and skin rejuvenation as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear and optical services.
With locations at 592 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, New Jersey 07090, 10 Mountain Boulevard, Warren, New Jersey 07059 and 517 Route One South, Suite 1100, Iselin, New Jersey 08830, The Eye Care & Surgery Center is a leading NJ eye care practice serving central and northern New Jersey.