What is a Pterygium? - Aker Kasten Eye Center

What is a Pterygium?

Posted by: Aker Kasten Eye Center in Eye Conditions on April 30, 2019

Eye Care Boca Raton, FLA pterygium (also called “surfer’s eye” or “farmer’s eye”) is a growth that most often extends from the moist conjunctiva over the cornea of the eye. These are often found in people who spend a lot of time outside, in the sun. Pterygiums can lead to dryness and irritation of the eye, among other issues. In untreated cases, a pterygium can move into the cornea of the eye and even lead to blindness. Keep reading to learn how pterygiums can be prevented and treated effectively.


Usually, a pterygium is a non-cancerous growth that develops quite slowly. Surgery may be recommended if your pterygium is very advanced. Or, you may choose not to have surgery unless the growth is extremely unsightly or causing you physical discomfort. In patients who have an especially large or growing pterygium, they may find themselves with a gritty, itchy, or burning sensation. The white of the eye can become reddened or inflamed, too.

In severe cases, a pterygium moves into the cornea of the eye. This can distort the shape of the eye, leading to astigmatism and other vision concerns.


Causes of pterygiums

There are many factors that can lead to the development of pterygiums, but common factors include repeated exposure to the sun and ultraviolet light. Patients who work outdoors or who are welders have a higher risk of developing pterygiums. Also, some studies have discovered evidence of viruses causing pterygiums, and genetics may play a part in their development as well.


Prevention of pterygiums

To prevent pterygiums from developing or growing, you can adjust your lifestyle a little bit. Limit your exposure to the sun, especially when it is especially bright and high in the sky. Wear sunglasses and a hat when you’re outside, to cut down on damage from UV rays.


Will I require surgery for pterygiums?

Pterygiums may need to be removed if they are growing, cause discomfort or lead to inflammation in your eyes. If they become unsightly or threaten to impair your vision, a pterygium should probably be removed.


Regular eye exams with your eye doctor help ensure you have the best eye health. If you want to learn more about pterygiums, give us a call at (561) 338-7722 to schedule a consultation with us today.