Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia


Ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) is a malignant growth on the surface of the eye.  It is mainly due to increased sun exposure over a long period of time. OSSN may present either as an incidental finding of a routine eye examination or some patients may notice the growth or report irritation. It is uncommon that patients present with reduced vision.

Why does it need to be treated? 

OSSN is similar to sunspots and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.  It needs to be treated or it has the potential to grow and involve other parts of the eye and other tissues.  These growths tend to be slow-developing, but it is better to treat them at an earlier stage.

What are the available treatments? 

OSSN can be treated with eye drops or surgical excision.  The treatment required depends on the individual patient. The medical treatments currently include topical Mitomycin-C and Interferon Alpha 2b.  These medications have the advantage of treating the whole ocular surface for any abnormal cells and often does not require further surgical intervention.  They do however need to be taken over a period of weeks to months and thus compliance is important. 

Surgical excision involves cutting the OSSN from the surface of the eye, leaving a healthy margin of tissue and the lesion is sent for pathology testing.  Follow up visits are required to monitor for any signs of recurrence.