Pterygium: Laguna Hills Patients Should Be Mindful of This Condition

Of the various eye conditions that may develop, we are far more familiar with diseases, such as glaucoma or cataracts. Pterygium is a condition that many of our Laguna Hills patients have never heard of, even though they may have one.

Pterygium is essentially the abnormal growth of tissue affecting the conjunctiva and the cornea. The growth may be very small and cause no irritation at all, or it may grow to be large enough to cause a foreign body sensation. As a pterygium enlarges, it may become visible in the eye: like a red, pink, or white fleshy growth. Generalized irritation and redness may occur, and, depending on corneal involvement, vision may become blurry or otherwise impaired.

Due to the similarities pterygium shares with certain other eye conditions, obtaining a proper diagnosis of symptoms is imperative. This can be achieved during a routine eye examination at Orange County Eye Institute.

Assessing and minimizing risks

The underlying cause of pterygia growth is thought to be long-term UV exposure. In some circles, the condition is called “surfer’s eye” due to the prevalence of abnormal growths in those who spend a great deal of time outdoors. It is not only surfers who may suffer the consequences of sunlight exposure; but also individuals who work outside, such as landscapers or construction workers. Dusty, dry, or windy conditions present additional risk factors that may cause persistent irritation.

Although treatment options such as ointments or eye drops may be used to decrease inflammation on the surface of the eye, there are also lifestyle habits that may complement formal treatment. Certain measures may decrease the risk of initial formation, as well as the recurrence of pterygium. These include:

  • Using appropriate safety gear to protect the eyes at work.
  • Minimize exposure to environmental irritants: chemicals, wind, dust, and smoke.
  • Wear protective eyewear and a hat when working or spending time outdoors.
  • Wear UV light-blocking sunglasses that fit closely around the eyes. Styles that wrap around the facial contours offer the most significant amount of protection.


(949) 441-5444

Dr. George Salib and the staff at Orange County Eye Institute offer personalized care in a welcoming environment. Our facility contains the latest equipment, complementing our extensive experience in the treatment of eye disorders. Schedule your visit with us today.


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