A pterygium, sometimes called surfer’s eye, is an optical condition that can affect people who spend substantial time outdoors. A pterygium is characterized by pink tissue growth on the clear tissue (conjunctiva) that lines the eyeball and eyelids. Although this condition can cause irritation, it’s rarely serious and can be resolved with treatment.
What are the Symptoms of a Pterygium?
If you develop this condition, you might notice a burning or itching feeling, the sensation that a foreign body is in your eye, or redness. If the growth blocks the cornea, blurry vision can result. Sometimes, a related condition called pinguecula occurs. This is characterized by a yellowish bump on the conjunctiva.
Who Develops a Pterygium?
This condition is not limited to surfers. It can affect anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors, is exposed to UV light, has dry eyes, or is exposed to dust, wind, and other irritants. A pterygium is most common among men ages 20 through 40 who live close to the equator.
How is it Treated?
If you have the symptoms of this condition, we’ll examine the tissue with a special microscope. Mild cases of a pterygium often resolve without treatment. Irritation and related symptoms can be treated with simple measures. When the growth associated with a pterygium interferes with your vision and has not responded to conservative treatments, we may recommend some type of professional treatment.
Can a Pterygium Be Prevented?
Taking steps to protect the eyes may keep this condition from developing. Of course, it’s important to wear sunglasses whenever you’re outside, even if it’s cloudy. Although the sun’s light is blocked, the UV rays can still reach your eyes. A hat with a wide brim also helps protect your eyes.
If you are experiencing irritation or blurred vision, Dr. Patel at Wichita Vision Institute in Wichita, KS can determine whether a pterygium might be the culprit. Seek medical attention whenever an issue with your vision arises. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!