If you have a Pterygium or Pinguecula that is bothering you, make an appointment at The Eye Associates by calling 1-866-865-2020 or click here.
Pinguecula and Pterygium are often mistaken as being the same condition because they are both growths on the cornea and the conjunctiva. Both are common, especially here in Florida, and are non-cancerous. They may occur on one or both eyes. The exact cause is not known but it is thought that extended exposure to sun and eye irritation could contribute. That is one reason we always recommend wearing sunglasses with UV protection, especially for people with occupations and hobbies outdoors.
The difference between the two conditions is as follows: A pinguecula (pronounced pin- GWEK-yoo-la) is a yellowish, slightly raised bump on the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the white part of your eye near the cornea). When a pinguecula grows larger over the cornea, it is can lead to the formation of a pterygium (pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um), but a pterygium can develop on its own without the start of a pinguecula. A pterygium is triangular in shape, elevated, and the problem occurs when it grows over the cornea and causes scar tissue. Some grow quickly while others never grow at all.
Treatment for a Pterygium and Pinguecula
Most pterygium and pinguecula and don’t bother patients or require treatment. But if you have a burning sensation or the sensation of something being in the eye, there are treatments available. Artificial tears, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and steroid drops are tried first. If they don’t help, then surgery can also be used to remove the growth for functional as well as cosmetic reasons. Amniotic membrane grafts are often used to promote healing after surgery, offering minimal discomfort and scarring.
Check out this video about pterygium removal.