Pinguecula and pterygium are sister conditions concerning growth on the conjunctiva, which is the clear tissue covering the sclera of the eye. One might experience redness and itchy, dry, and gritty eyes along with the growth. These conditions are very similar but have distinct differences.
Both of these conditions are caused by excessive UV radiation exposure and may be made worse by chronic dryness. A combination of exposure to wind and dust can also cause and worsen these conditions.
Pinguecula is when there are small, raised, yellow, or white growths on the conjunctiva. These can occur on the inside or outside of the eye but are typically found on the side closest to your nose. This growth can contain deposits of calcium, fats, or proteins. They typically do not affect vision but can interfere with the way tears coat the eye, causing dryness.
Pterygium (aka Surfer’s Eye) is the growth of fleshy tissue, meaning it contains blood vessels, due to the exacerbation of pinguecula. These growths can remain small, or grow larger enough to cover part of the cornea, therefore affecting vision. They can occur on either side of the eye and usually cause irritation and redness along with distorted vision.
How can you prevent these growths from occurring? Wear sunglasses with UV protection! Shielding your eyes will protect your tissues from damage due to UV radiation. Ensuring your eyes are properly lubricated using artificial tears will also help prevent particulates from entering the eye and causing further irritation.
Usually, these growths are harmless and don’t cause many issues that cannot be fixed with artificial tears, but surgery may be an option when they start becoming painful and severely affect vision.
Sounds good. That cartoon is funny - they need to just make cartoons for all eye diseases!