Vision Services

Pterygium is a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the white of the eye.  The growth usually forms on the side closest to the nose and grows toward the center of the eye.  It is a common eye condition that affects people who spend a lot of time outdoors.  Because pterygium often affects surfers, it is also known as surfers eye.  It can affect anyone though, even children who don’t wear sunglasses outside.    

Pterygium is a noncancerous lesion that usually grows slowly throughout life.  It may even stop growing after a certain point.  In advanced cases, it can continue growing until it covers the pupil of the eye and interferes with vision.  A pterygium may affect one or both of the eyes.   

It is usually not a serious condition; however, it can cause annoying symptoms such as the feeling of having a foreign body in the eye.  Sometimes the growth becomes red and irritated and requires medical treatment.


Symptoms of Pterygium:

Sometimes, a pterygium causes no symptoms other than its appearance.  An enlarging pterygium, however, may cause redness and inflammation.  It can progressively grow onto the cornea (the clear outer layer of the eye).  This can distort the shape of the cornea, causing a condition called astigmatism.  The result can be blurred vision.  Some symptoms may include the following:

  • Burning
  • Gritty Feeling
  • Itching
  • Sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • Blurred vision 

Causes of Pterygium: 

  • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Dry Eye
  • Irritants such as dust and wind

Treatment of Pterygium:

Pterygium can be diagnosed by examining the front part of your eye with a microscope called a slit lamp.  It usually does not require treatment if symptoms are mild. If a temporary worsening of the inflamed condition causes redness or irritation, it can be treated with:

  • Lubricating eyedrops or ointments
  • Occasional use of vasoconstrictor eyedrops
  • Short course of steroid eyedrops
      If the lesion causes persistent discomfort or interferes with vision, it can be surgically removed during an outpatient procedure.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of Pterygium, we encourage you to contact us today to schedule a consultation.