pterygium: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and How to Prevent It

What does it consist of?

The pterygium is a growth of pink and fleshy tissue in the conjunctiva, the transparent tissue that covers the eyelids and covers the eyeball. It usually forms on the side closest to the nose and grows into the area of ​​the pupil.

It may seem somewhat disturbing, but it is not cancer. Growth can extend slowly during your life or stop after a certain point. In extreme cases, it can cover your pupil and cause vision problems.

Growth may appear in one eye or both. When it affects both, it is known as a bilateral pterygium.
Although it is not usually a serious condition, it can cause bothersome symptoms. You may feel that you have something in your eye. Or it can become red and irritated and require medical or surgical treatment.

What are the symptoms?

Sometimes, there is none, it just appears.

When there are symptoms, your eye may:

  • Burn
  • Sandy feeling
  • Chop
  • Feeling that there is some kind of garbage in the eye
  • It looks red
  • If the growth reaches the cornea (the area of ​​the pupil of the eye), it could change its shape and cause blurred vision.

Before it appears, you may notice a related condition called pinguecula. This is a yellowish patch or bump on the conjunctiva and may turn red if irritated.

Causes of the Pterígio

The things that make you more likely to have it include:

  • A lot of exposure to ultraviolet light (like from the sun)
  • Dry eyes
  • Irritants like dust and wind
  • It is more likely to be achieved in people who live near the equator, especially in men between 20 and 40 years old. But it can affect anyone who lives in a sunny place.

The pinguécula happens in the same way: a lot of time in the sun without eye protection like sunglasses. It can stop the production of fluid on the outside of your eye, so it may feel dry or as if something is stuck in it. It can turn red.


Consult an ophthalmologist if you have any symptoms. He can diagnose the condition by looking at the front of his eye with a special microscope called a slit lamp.

You probably do not need treatment if your symptoms are mild. If the condition causes temporary redness or irritation, your doctor will treat you with:

  • Ointments for eyes or over-the-counter moisturizing drops
  • Drops for eyes that clear up redness and irritation
  • Eye drops with prescribed steroids to relieve redness, itching, swelling and pain

Is surgery necessary?

If the growth causes discomfort or interferes with your vision, your doctor may remove it during an outpatient procedure.

Like any surgery, there can be complications. These include:

  • Return from more aggressive growth
  • Scars or cuts on your cornea
  • Blurred vision of an unequal cornea, called astigmatism

Most of the time, doctors only suggest surgery if:

  • Other treatments have failed
  • Your sight is at risk
  • The aspect bothers you

A common surgery uses the conjunctiva tissue to fill the empty space after the lesion disappeared. The growth is eliminated and the filling is stuck or sewn in the affected area.

The procedure usually takes 30 to 45 minutes. You will probably wear a patch on the eye for a day or two. You can return to work or normal activities in a few days.

It will be necessary to use steroid eye drops for several weeks or months. They will decrease inflammation and make a new lesion less likely to form. It may seem disgusting to graft tissue into your eye, but it decreases the chances of it growing back.

If the operation is performed, pay close attention to your eye for next year. Most growths would return within the first 12 months after surgery. After surgery, it is wise to wear wraparound sunglasses outdoors.

Can Pterígio be prevented?

Yes you can prevent it, as long as you wear sunglasses every day. That includes cloudy days, clouds do not stop the ultraviolet light. Choose shades that block 99% -100% of ultraviolet A and ultraviolet B radiation.

The wraparound styles provide the best shield against ultraviolet light, dust and wind. Use them also when you are in the car.

Unlike the windshield, the side windows of your car do not protect it from UV rays. You can also apply a protective film to the side windows to help.

Experts recommend wearing a hat with an edge to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light. And use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist in dry climates.