What is a pterygium?
A pterygium is an abnormal growth of the conjunctiva over the cornea. It most often occurs on the nasal side of the eye, but can occur on the outer side or on both.
What causes it?
The main risk factor for developing a pterygium is exposure to the sun and dryness, which is why it usually occurs in the area between the eyelids. People who work outdoors are most frequently affected.
How can it be prevented?
The main preventive measure is to wear sunglasses during prolonged periods of exposure to the sun and the use of lubricating eye drops to prevent dryness.
A pterygium appears as an elevated whitish zone on the inside and/or outside edge of the cornea. It is painless and symptoms depend mainly on the size of the lesion.
The smaller ones can be asymptomatic, but, as they grow, they can cause discomfort on the surface of the eye, such as: red eye, tearing, foreign body sensation and, in severe cases, vision can become compromised, if it leads to astigmatism, in which larger areas of the cornea become covered.
The small lesions generally do not require treatment and can be managed simply with lubricating eye drops. More advanced cases require surgical removal.