Some Kind Of Dinosaur?

A pterygium is a lump of tissue filled with blood vessels that forms on the surface of the eye. The condition often starts on the conjunctiva, a thin, transparent membrane designed to protect and lubricate other eye components. Pterygia can remain small and isolated or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea.

I don’t see what you mean

The cornea is the part of the eye that allows light to pass through. When unobstructed, these light waves travel to the brain and paint a picture of what the eye sees. If a pterygium spreads onto the corneal surface, a portion of that light may not be able to enter the eye as intended. This may result in blurry or blocked vision.

Considering the cornea accounts for two-thirds of the eye’s focusing power, any pterygium on the surface can become a problem. Patients may require new glasses prescriptions to combat changes caused by the ailment.

What’s it going to do?

Problems with vision are the most significant factor in pterygium formation. Other symptoms can be anywhere from mild to severe. The pterygium appears as a visible dot, full of abnormal blood vessels. This can be unpleasant for individuals to look at. Being an abnormal growth, the area around a pterygium can also become red and swollen. Furthermore, the eye can feel as if something is stuck in there.

Don’t let the light shine in

Pterygia are most commonly formed as the result of direct exposure to ultraviolet light. The biggest source of such rays is the sun. Therefore, individuals spending a lot of time outside are the most likely to develop a growth. Being in dusty or windy environments only adds to the likelihood. The condition is aptly called surfer’s eye, thanks to a surfer’s constant exposure to these elements.

Apart from being outside, the male gender has a higher risk of pterygium formation. Age also plays a significant role, as children developing a pterygium is very rare.

The cure is looking cool

Shielding the eyes against wind, dust, and the sun’s harmful UV rays will go a long way toward preventing a pterygium. Sunglasses known to block ultraviolet light can work wonders, since UV can also damage other eye tissue. Along those same lines, keeping eyes moisturized can be just as helpful. Preservative-free artificial tears can accomplish this and are gentle on the soft tissue.

Gotta deal with it somehow

Once a pterygium forms on the eye, there’s little chance the growth will disappear. Smaller pterygia are often treated with artificial tears to reduce irritation and swelling and pose no problem. Surgery may be required if the pterygium covers a portion of the visual field, affects corneal curvature, or becomes painful. If a pterygium develops, be sure to see an eye doctor for treatment options.