What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium (also referred to as “surfer’s eye”) is a wing-shaped growth of tissue that often extends from the moist conjunctiva over to the cornea of the eye. Pterygiums can cause dryness and irritation in your eyes, leading to frustration. A pterygium can move into the cornea of the eye, leading to blindness in severe cases. Keep reading to learn how pterygiums can be prevented.

Usually, a pterygium is a non-cancerous growth which develops slowly over years and years. You may not want surgery unless this growth is causing discomfort or irritation. In patients who have a large or growing pterygium, a gritty, itchy, or burning sensation may be associated with a pterygium

In more severe cases, a pterygium moves into the cornea. This can distort the shape of the surface of the eye and cause astigmatism and other serious vision issues.

Causes of pterygiums

There are many factors that can lead to the development of pterygiums, but common factors include exposure to sun and ultraviolet light. People who work outdoors often or who are welders have a higher risk of developing pterygiums. Some studies have discovered evidence of viruses causing pterygiums, and there may be genetic factors as well.

Prevention of pterygiums

To prevent pterygiums from developing or growing, you can do a few things with little change to your daily life. Try to limit your exposure to the sun, especially when the sun is especially high or bright. Wear sunglasses and a hat when you are spending time outside, to lower the amount of sun you’re exposed to.

When will I require surgery for pterygiums?

Pterygiums can be removed if they are growing, cause discomfort, or leading to inflammation in your eyes. Additionally, if they become especially unsightly or threaten to impair vision, a pterygium should probably be treated with surgery.

Regular eye exams with your physician help ensure the best outcome with a pterygium. We can often help identify them in their early stages and can help you make better choices moving forward. If you want to learn more about pterygiums and how we can help prevent them, give us a call to schedule a consultation with Dr. Groat today.

Posted in: Eye Care Services

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