A pterygium is a fleshy triangular area of tissue, usually on the inner corner of the eye, that can also grow onto the cornea. Sometimes, it extends toward the center of the cornea so that it interferes with vision. As the pterygium develops, it may warp the cornea, causing astigmatism.
Symptoms of a Pterygium:
- Visible tissue growing over the eye
- Irritation of the eye
- Redness localized in the corner
- Possible blurred vision
Causes of a Pterygium:
The exact cause of pterygia isn’t known, but it’s thought to be linked to:
- Long-term exposure to sunlight
- Dry, dusty conditions
- Age: Pterygia is typically found in adults over the age of 30.
Diagnosing a Pterygium:
Chances are, you’ll notice a pterygium when you look in the mirror. It will look something like the photograph above. Your eye doctor can also diagnose it during a routine eye exam.
Treatment of a Pterygium:
Eye drops or ointment can be used to reduce the irritation caused by a pterygium. If the pterygium grows toward the central cornea, it often needs to be removed surgically. Outpatient surgery is very successful. If your doctor of optometry deems it necessary, he will be happy to provide a surgical consult at any time.