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Pinguecula and Pterygium


The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision May 2020| Content last modified May 2020
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What is pinguecula and pterygium?

Pinguecula and pterygium (sometimes called surfer's eye) are growths on the front of your eye. They grow on your conjunctiva (the clear, thin tissue that lines the inside of your eyelids and covers the white of your eye). They may be caused by too much sun, wind, dust, or just dry eyes.

  • A pinguecula is a raised yellow or white patch or bump on your conjunctiva next to your cornea (the clear area over the colored part of your eye)

  • A pterygium is a fleshy growth on your conjunctiva that can overlap your cornea

How do doctors treat pinguecula or pterygium?

For pinguecula:

  • It may look odd but doesn't usually cause symptoms or need treatment

For a pterygium:

  • Most of these growths don’t cause any symptoms

  • Sometimes, the growth can irritate your eye and cause problems with your vision if it covers a lot of your cornea

  • Doctors may give you artificial tears or corticosteroid eye drops or ointment

  • If a pterygium gets big enough to bother you or becomes inflamed again and again, doctors may do surgery to remove it

Pinguecula and Pterygium

A pinguecula (left) is a growth next to the cornea. A pterygium (right) is a growth of the conjunctiva next to the cornea that spreads across onto the cornea. A pterygium may affect vision.

Pinguecula and Pterygium
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