A pterygium is a visible lightly colored, triangular-shaped tissue that begins on the conjunctiva and grows onto the cornea, but it does not typically cover the entire pupil of the eye. This lesion can continue to grow slowly throughout a person’s life, or it can stop growing on its own.
Causes of Pterygia
There is no known cause of pterygia; however, there are some factors that can increase your risk for developing this condition:
- Sunny climates
- Genetic predisposition
- People in the 20-40 age bracket, especially males
- Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light
Wearing protective sunglasses and hats with brims may reduce the risk for pterygia, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Eye drops can help to minimize discomfort, swelling and redness due to air pollutants.
Although many people want to have a pterygium removed for cosmetic reasons, surgery is not usually recommended unless vision is threatened or the eye becomes frequently inflamed and irritated. Current surgical techniques for removing Pterygia include the application of an anti-scarring medication (Mitomicin C), which, with meticulous surgical technique, has reduced the rate of recurrence to less than 2%.
If you notice any type of growth on your eye, contact us today to schedule an eye exam in one of our three convenient OCB locations in Boston, Waltham or Danvers, Massachusetts.