Eyes | Ophthalmology | Pterygium (Disease)


Pterygium (Surfers Eye) most often refers to a benign growth of the conjunctiva. A pterygium commonly grows from the nasal side of the sclera. It is usually present in the palpebral fissure. It is associated with, and thought to be caused by ultraviolet-light exposure (e. g. , sunlight), low humidity, and dust.

Causes and Risk factors

The predominance of pterygia on the nasal side is possibly a result of the sunrays passing laterally through the cornea, where it undergoes refraction and becomes focused on the limbic area. Sunlight passes unobstructed from the lateral side of the eye, focusing on the medial limbus after passing through the cornea. On the contralateral (medial) side, however, the shadow of the nose medially reduces the intensity of sunlight focused on the lateral/temporal limbus.

The exact cause is unknown, but it is associated with excessive exposure to wind, sunlight, or sand. Therefore, it is more likely to occur in populations that inhabit the areas near the equator, as well as windy locations.

Diagnosis and Treatment

A examination using a slit lamp may be performed to rule out any other growths or problems with the eye.

Surgery to remove the pterygium is done when the vision is affected, if symptoms recur, or for cosmetic reasons. ...