A pinguecula is an excessive growth of fleshy tissue on the white part of your eye, which is called the conjunctiva. It often looks like a yellow spot or bump on the white part of the eye.
It can appear on either side of the cornea but tends to appear more on the side nearer to your nose. It may increase in size over many years. It is more common in people with excess outdoor exposure to sunlight and wind, such as those who work outdoors, as growth is caused by UV exposure
Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the leading reason of the growth of pingueculae, however, regular contact to dust and wind also seem to be risk factors.
Pingueculae are more commonplace in middle-aged or older individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun. Nevertheless, they also appear in younger individuals and kids — particularly those who are frequently outside without sunglasses or hats to shield their eyes from the sun’s UV rays.
In most individuals there are no symptoms experienced. However, when they do, those symptoms typically form from a disturbance of the tear film. As pinguecula is an elevated lump on the eyeball, the natural tear film may not disperse consistently throughout the exterior of the eye around it, leading to dryness. This can lead to dry eye symptoms, such as a burning feeling, stinging, itching and blurry eyesight.
With the presence of a pinguecula, it is important to protect the eyes with quality sunglasses to prevent or slow down the growth. There are also other types of growths that can cover the eye in this area, and some are more sight threatening, so it is important to be properly assessed by an optometrist.