Nevus of Ota: Clinical Aspects and Management

Henry H.L. Chan, MB, FRCPG, FRCPE, Taro Kono, MD

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Nevus of Ota, or nevus fuscoceruleus ophthalmomaxillaris, is a dermal melanocytic hamartoma that presents as bluish hyperpigmentation along the first or second branches of the trigeminal nerve. Extra-cutaneous involvement has been reported, especially ocular involvement. Nevus of Ota affects between 0.014%-0.034% of the Asian population. Clinical differential diagnoses include facial café-au-lait patch, spilus nevus, and acquired bilateral nevus of Ota-like macules. Previous treatment modalities, including cryotherapy and microsurgery, can be associated with scarring. In the last decade, the use of Q-switched lasers has revolutionized the treatment of this condition. This review summarizes the clinical, histologic, and management aspects of this dermal melanocytic hamartoma.

Hulke first described oculodermal melanosis (nevus of Ota) in 1861, and in 1916 Pusey described the case of a Chinese student with both scleral and facial pigmentation.[1] It was not until 1939 that the condition was defined as an entity by Ota, from the University of Tokyo, who described bluish-gray irregular hyperpigmentation along the first and second divisions of the trigeminal nerve with frequent mucosal involvement as "Nevusfusco-caeruleus opthalmo-maxillaris and melanosis bulbi." Since then, this melanocytic nevus, which is common in Asians but rare in Caucasians, has been widely known as nevus of Ota.


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