Sun & the Eyes: What’s That Growth into My Cornea? Pterygiums


I had a blog post a few months back that discussed a pinguecula, which is a yellowish growth on the white part of the eye from long term sun exposure. This post will address when those kinds of tissue changes grow into the cornea. A pterygium (“Teh-RIDGE-ee-um” from greek term “pterygos” which means “little wing”) is a non cancerous growth into the cornea, from long term sun exposure. They typically start at the temporal or nasal margin of the cornea, and can gradually grow inwards, towards the center of the cornea, at varied rates and amounts. They tend to be wedge shaped, with vasculature, where they form scar tissue. It’s very important to visit your eye doctor to properly diagnose a pterygium. Your eye doctor can also monitor the pterygium to see if it’s continuing to grow. If a pterygium grows too far into the cornea, it can interfere with one’s vision. The best way to prevent a pterygium from growing into the cornea is excellent sun protection and sun eyewear to prevent the sun’s UV rays from causing more tissue changes. While most pterygiums do not interfere with the vision, if they grow towards the visual axis, there are procedures to remove it. This is typically performed by a corneal specialist. Sometimes the raised area of the pterygium can cause irritation and dryness, where lubricants and other dry eye treatments can provide relief. Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Have a great day!

About Eyedrbarnstein

Dr. Richard Barnstein is an optometrist / partner with Professional Vision in the Baltimore area. ( Timonium and Carney ) Professional Vision is a boutique eyecare practice, with fashionable designer frames and sunglasses. We have an eye doctor available for eye appointments for contacts, comprehensive eye exams, and treatment of eye emergencies 6 days a week, at Timonium & Carney. Dr. Richard Barnstein, a Baltimore native, graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Optometry (now Salus University) in 1994. He attended James Madison University (1987-90) where he was accepted early into optometry school. Dr. Barnstein is therapeutically licensed to treat eye disease, and diagnoses and manages glaucoma. He also specializes in difficult contact lens fittings, dry eye disease, and LASIK co-management. Dr. Richard Barnstein is a member of the American Optometric Association and the Maryland Optometric Association. Dr. Richard Barnstein enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 children, and puppy goldendoodle. He's an avid Ravens, Terps, and Orioles fan, and loves live music. Profession Vision on Twitter Dr. Richard Barnstein on Twitter Check out Dr. Barnstein's Live Music and Sports Blog, Farmerstanproductions!
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