Different parts of the body often develop benign growths and eyes are no exception. Pinguecula (plural pingueculae) and pterygium (plural: pterygia) are harmless, non-cancerous growths that develop on the eye’s conjunctiva, the connective tissue that covers the white part of the eyes. While the two may appear similar and have similar symptoms and causes, they are actually quite different.
As a leading eye hospital, we share with you some important insights on pinguecula and pterygium –
- Pinguecula is a non-cancerous lump
A pinguecula is a non-cancerous lump on the white part of the eye. Overexposure to the sun and ultraviolet radiation are the most common reason for the development of pinguecula. The yellow lump typically grows on the side of your eyeball closest to the nose. Made of protein, calcium and fats, the lump can either be round or triangular in shape. Pingueculae can cause discomfort but doesn’t affect the vision:
- Pingueculae part of normal ageing
Though Pingueculae can develop at any age, it is common among middle-aged and elderly people. It is in fact a normal part of ageing.
- Pingueculae and pterygia are not the same thing
A Pinguecula should not be confused with a pterygium . Pterygia occur when a Pingueculae grows and turns into a pterygium, a benign fibrous growth. Pterygia are more likely to interfere with normal sight. A pterygium is more noticeable than pinguecula. When pterygium extends onto the cornea far enough it can cause blurred vision as the curvature of the cornea is changed. Pterygium may also disrupt the distribution of tears across the surface of the eye, creating a feeling of dryness.
- The main symptom of Pingueculae is yellow bump
Besides the yellow bump, people who develop Pingueculae experience mild symptoms such as:
- Dry eyes
- Swelling around the eyes
- Burning sensation
- Foreign body sensation
- Blurry vision
- Discomfort when wearing contacts
- Pingueculae can lead to astigmatism
Pingueculae changes the natural curve of the eyeball – which can lead to astigmatism, a refractive error. Astigmatism can be corrected with specialised contact lenses or laser eye surgery.
- Overexposure to the sun causes Pingueculae and pterygia
Overexposure to the sun’s UV rays are likely the cause of pingueculae and pterygia. According to 2019 study, Pingueculae are more common in people who live in countries near the equator, where the sun’s rays are strongest. Besides the sun exposure, Pingueculae may also develop due to regular irritation from wind, dust or other airborne particles.
- Pingueculae may not require treatment
In most cases, pingueculae do not usually require treatment. OTC or prescription medications often help people get relief from symptoms such as itchiness, irritation and dryness. Surgery is usually reserved for cases where severe eye irritation is noticed. However, some people wish to get their pingueculae or pterygia removed surgically for cosmetic reasons.
- To avoid Pingueculae protect eyes from the sun
As sunlight and UV rays are among risk factors for developing pingueculae, you should take care of your eyes when stepping out. Wear the right sunglasses when out in the sun. Choose sunglasses that block both UVA and UVB rays. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to keep the sun’s rays off the face and eyes. If you spend a lot of time outdoors or in a dusty area, wear protective eyewear to prevent irritants from entering your eyes.
If you experience any eye problems, see an eye doctor immediately. At Disha Eye Hospitals, we are committed to providing quality eye care at affordable cost to people from all walks of life. From vision correction surgery to cataract surgery, we offer a wide range of services.