Objective: To determine the proportion of choroidal nevi that were previously identified in a population cross section and that showed evidence of growth or progression during a 5-year period.
Methods: The Blue Mountains Eye Study was a cohort study of residents 49 years and older living in an area west of Sydney, Australia. Retinal photographs were used to identify choroidal nevi. Repeat photographs were obtained 5 years later and graded side-by-side to ascertain clinical growth or progression of all identified nevi. The greatest diameter and surface area of each nevus were measured. Nevus growth was defined as an increase in size of at least 33%.
Results: There were 160 choroidal nevi identified in the 128 subjects with nevi who participated in both eye examinations. Only 1 nevus (0.6%) exhibited clinical growth during the 5 years. No nevi developed other indicators of progression, such as subretinal fluid or orange pigment accumulation.
Conclusions: Findings from this study indicate that benign nevi in older persons rarely progress. Regular eye examinations may be unnecessary for clearly defined small nonsuspicious choroidal nevi. This information could relieve patient anxiety and reduce costs associated with regular monitoring of nevi.