Pterygium (pronounced ter-ridge-ee-umm) is a condition caused by sun damage where an excessive growth of tissue forms on the white part of the eye. It is usually seen when there is a history of sun exposure. Pterygium can be found on both eyes, usually on the part closest to the nose. It isn’t dangerous but should be checked properly in a full eye exam to ensure it isn’t something more sinister. It’s important to prevent further growth by wearing sunglasses and lenses with UV protection when you are outdoors.
It is not known the exact cause of pterygium; however, one reason is that excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can lead to these growths. This happens more often in individuals who reside in warm climates and spend a lot of time outside in sunny or windy conditions. Individuals whose eyes are subjected to specific factors on a consistent basis have a greater risk of developing this condition. These factors include:
A pterygium does not always trigger symptoms. If a pterygium does trigger a symptom, it is usually mild. Common place symptoms consist of redness, blurred vision, and eye irritation. You may also experience a burning sensation or itchiness. If a pterygium spreads large enough to cover up your cornea, it can affect your eyesight. Dense or bigger pterygium can also trigger you to feel like you have an external object in your eye. If you usually wear contact lenses you may not be able to do so given the discomfort from the pterygium.
It’s really important to get a full test done when there is some sun damage on the front of the eyes. Your George and Matilda Eyecare optometrist will carefully check this for you during your eye test.
Speak to your George & Matilda Eyecare Optometrist if you have any concerns or questions about your vision or eye health.