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Pterygium Or Surfer's Eye: Get To Know The Causes And Symptoms

In severe cases, Pterygium can cover the pupil and block or blur your vision, requiring surgery. Know how you can minimize the risk of getting it.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori | Updated : March 17, 2023 4:26 PM IST


Pterygium Or Surfer's Eye

If you notice a wing-shaped, fleshy, pink growth of tissue forming on the side of your eye closer to the nose and spreading towards the pupil area, you are likely dealing with Pterygium. Also known as Surfer's Eye, it is usually caused by long-term exposure to UV light and originates on the conjunctiva and progresses towards the pupil area. It is generally benign or harmless. In mild cases, it causes redness, swelling and irritation. In severe cases, however, it can cover the pupil and block or blur your vision. Eye drops and ointment may help relieve to ease the symptoms, but surgery may be required if your vision is affected. Usually, Pterygium affects one eye. When both eyes are affected at the same time, it’s it is known as bilateral pterygium. Surfers work in the environment that cause pterygium (sun, wind and dusty conditions) hence the nickname “surfer’s eye.”


Symptoms Of Pterygium

include: • A pinguecula (a yellowish patch or bump on the conjunctiva that can get red if irritated). • A slightly raised pink growth on the conjunctiva • Red, irritated or swollen eyes. • Dry, itchy or burning eyes. • Feeling like you have something in your eye. • Teary eyes. • Blurred vision or double vision (if it grows onto your cornea).


How To Prevent Pterygium

It may not be possible to completely avoid Pterygium. But you can minimize the risk of its occurrence, by wearing proper protective gear like sunglasses (especially wraparound sunglasses) and a wide-brimmed hat when in sunny climates or spending time outdoors and avoiding exposure to known eye irritants.