Category: <span>Pterygium</span>

Factors that Affect Your Risk of Getting a Pterygium

Pterygium: Lifeguard wearing sunglasses at the beach

 
Risks are a necessary part of life. Stepping out of the house is a risk – you could get stung by a bee in the garden; staying inside the house is a risk – what if the bee comes through the window and you’re caught unaware? Understanding the consequences when we take these risks help us to make reasonable adjustments in response (if you’re deathly allergic to bees, becoming a beekeeper is not a good idea).

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The Link Between Pterygia and Melanoma

Ultraviolet Radiation Exposure Heightens The Risk Of Pterygia And Skin Melanomas

 

Who doesn’t love the sun and surf? The answer is probably nobody. And who loves surfer’s eye? The answer is also probably nobody. And if we’re asking who loves skin cancer, the answer is definitely nobody.

Surfer’s eye, also known as a pterygium, is a fleshy overgrowth of tissue from the membrane over the whites of the eye (the conjunctiva) to the cornea (the transparent dome at the front of the eye). Although a pterygium itself is considered benign, researchers in the Australian state of Western Australia have noted an association between the presence of pterygia and cutaneous (skin) melanoma.
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The Effects of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation on the Eyes

What words come to mind when you think of a bright and sunny holiday destination such as California? Beach, white sand, water? Surfing, sun, sunburn, awkwardly-located tan lines? How about Pterygium?

Pterygia, or its singular form, pterygium, is a benign overgrowth of conjunctival tissue on the eye and has a worldwide prevalence of about 10.2%1. The first part of the word, ptery, is derived from the Greek meaning “wing” (think of the winged pterodactyl), as the typical shape of a pterygium is a triangle. The conjunctiva is a membrane that sits over the whites of the eye, and if it grows over the cornea, the clear bubble over the coloured part of the eye, we get what we call a pterygium. Its little cousin, a pingueculum, is also an overgrowth of conjunctival tissue that presents as a little white or off-white yellowish bump on the sclera but doesn’t encroach onto the cornea.

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My Guilty Pleasure: Being a Heretic

I had a weird consultation this week.  The case wasn’t weird but the dynamics were.  A young person came in for a Pterygium surgery evaluation.  He was in his early 20s and was a great candidate for surgery with a significant growth that was plaguing him.  He had gone down to Big University eye hospital in Los Angeles the last few years and every time he went in he was told to wait for surgery as his case was high risk.  Then he comes to visit little old me in Ventura County and I turned his world upside down when I said he would do great.

He was accompanied by a relative who was clearly stressed out that I would dare contradict the so-called ‘best of the best’ at Big U.  The fact that I saw no good reason to make this silently tortured young man wait blew this persons mind.  In fact, they were so flustered I was waiting for this person’s head to explode during the visit!  They simply refused to believe that better options were available.

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Research & Publications

Factors that Affect Your Risk of Getting a Pterygium

  Risks are a necessary part of life. Stepping out of the house is a risk – you could get stung by a bee in the garden; …

Can Kids Get Pterygia?

  Pterygium – a benign wing-shaped overgrowth of tissue from the whites of the eye over the transparent cornea. It’s …

The Link Between Pterygia and Melanoma

  Who doesn’t love the sun and surf? The answer is probably nobody. And who loves surfer’s eye? The answer is also …