Eye Care Services » Pterygium » Surfer's Eye
Eye Care Services Pterygium (Surfers Eye)
Pterygium refers to a non-cancerous growth that develops on the white part of the eye. It is often known as ‘surfer’s eye’, but it actually has nothing to do with this popular pastime. However, it is much more commonly seen in people who spend a good deal of time outdoors in natural light – such as surfers. Fortunately, pterygium isn’t a very serious condition and it can be treated with relative ease.
Our optical care team has seen many cases of pterygium and is experienced in diagnosing and treating this condition. If you suspect you may be affected, contact our New York offices today. In the meantime, here is what you need to know about this inconvenient ocular problem.
Causes of pterygium
Whilst we make a great deal of effort to defend our skin from the harmful effects of the sun, we often overlook the fact that our eyes should be given added protection too, particularly if we spend a lot of time outdoors. If we participate in activities that involve bright light, water or snow, then we are more likely to be affected by pterygium, and this is because the additional light reflects off of these surfaces and damages our eyes and vision. The vast majority of cases of pterygium have been linked to exposure to UV light.
Whilst it is more prevalent in people who work or spend time doing recreational activities outside, there are some other risk factors for the development of pterygium. These include:
- Being male
- Being between the ages of 20 and 50
- Having light skin and eyes
- Working in an environment where there are irritants in the air such as wind, chemicals, dust or air pollution
Symptoms of pterygium
The most obvious symptom of pterygium is the presence of growth on the white part of the eyes. This usually starts in the corner by the nose, and over time, it gets bigger and bigger until it begins to obstruct your vision. Key signs of pterygium include:
- Red, watering eyes
- Eyes that feel itchy and sore
- A visible pink-colored growth on the eye
- Blurred vision
- Vision loss
The symptoms of pterygium are not all that dissimilar to those of other ocular conditions including dry eye syndrome. For this reason, it is important that you get checked by your eye doctor as soon as possible.
Treatment for pterygium
Exactly what treatment you will need for your pterygium will depend on the size of the growth you have, and whether or not your sight has been compromised. If you are in some discomfort, you may be able to have over the counter medication to help. Meanwhile, eye drops are often recommended to help reduce any inflammation and to lubricate the eyes if they are feeling dry and stuff.
If your pterygium growth doesn’t shrink by itself, you may need surgery to remove it. This involves the use of local anesthetic and surgical removal of the growth. After surgery, you will need to wear a patch to cover your eye for several days until the initial stage of healing is complete. Whilst surgery is very successful there is a slight chance that the growth could regrow. Fortunately, you can try and avoid this by protecting your eyes from the effects of UV light using sunglasses and/or a wide-brimmed hat.
If you would like more advice about pterygium, please make contact with our experienced team today.
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