Pinguecula and Pterygium

Pinguecula and pterygium are growths on your eye’s conjunctiva, the clear covering over the white part of the eye.

Pinguecula is a yellowish, raised growth on the conjunctiva. This is a deposit of protein, fat, or calcium.

Pterygium is a growth of fleshy tissue (has blood vessels) that may start as a pinguecula. It can remain small or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea.

Both conditions are believed to be caused by a combination of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun, wind, and dust.

Symptoms

  • Redness and swelling of the conjunctiva, mostly while the pterygium grows.
  • A yellow spot or bump on the white of your eye.
  • Dry, itchy, burning eyes.
  • Blurry vision.
  • Early detection, and prompt treatment, of a retinal tear can often prevent the retina from detaching, preventing permanent damage to the patient‘s vision.

Treatment

  • Pinguecula treatment: Drops to lubricate your eyes can relieve the irritation from pinguecula. Drops can relieve the feeling of something in the eye. Should redness and swelling in the eye develop, steroid eye drops can be prescribed.
  • Pterygium treatment: Lubricating or steroid eye drops can be prescribed to treat discomfort, redness or swelling of the eye. If the pterygium grows and causes vision issues surgery can be recommended to remove it. If it is removed, a thin piece of normal tissue might be transplanted onto the affected area. This reduces the chance that the pterygium will grow back.

Repairing a tear in one part of the retina does not prevent a tear from developing in another area of the retina. Patients who have had a retinal tear should be especially careful about having their condition monitored. Everyone should have a regular eye examination to detect possible retinal tears at the earliest possible stage.

The best way to keep pinguecula and pterygium from coming back is to avoid sunlight, dryness, and dust.

Additional Resources

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