Category: <span>Pterygium</span>

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Pterygium

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Pterygium

Unsightly but harmless is a pterygium on the eye. These wing-shaped fibrous growths are often called surfer’s eye due to their frequent appearance on sun- and surf-loving aficionados. Though pterygia are not cancerous, no one wakes up in the morning and says to themselves, “I think I’d like a pterygium today”. If you fall into the intersect of the “sun and surf aficionado” with “don’t want a pterygium today” Venn diagram, keep reading to find out how you can take steps to avoid developing this eye condition.

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Middle aged man with pterygium in left eye

7 Things You Should Know About Pterygia

Pterygium may not be a word you’re familiar with, but if you live anywhere with a lot of sun and surf (such as California), chances are that you’ve seen one (or even have one yourself. Maybe even two.) This fleshy growth on the front surface of the eye is a very common condition, albeit an unsightly one. Pterygia (the plural of pterygium) appear like a triangular whitish-yellowish overgrowth from the whites of the eye over the transparent cornea. In the very early stages of a pterygium, you may not even realize you have one developing. If that last statement has you peering closely into a mirror to find that you indeed have the beginnings of a pterygium, stay calm and keep reading.

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Can a Pterygium Cause Dizziness?

Can a Pterygium Cause Dizziness?

Sun, wind, surf, and… a pterygium. Depending on where you live in the world, the prevalence of pterygia sits anywhere between 1% of the population to over 30%. This fleshy wing-shaped overgrowth of tissue from the whites of the eye to the cornea (the transparent dome over the colored iris) is typically dismissed as a slightly unsightly cosmetic issue for most people. As it’s also nicknamed “surfer’s eye”, you can imagine how it might relate to sun, wind, and surf. In some cases, a pterygium can progress so far over the cornea that it becomes more than a slightly unsightly cosmetic issue.
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Middle aged man with pterygium in left eye

How Do I Know if I Have a Pterygium?

The word “pterygium” is derived from the Greek for “wing” (hint: the p is silent). Surely you’d know if you had a wing on your eye, right? Though there is the occasional individual who is entirely oblivious to the pinkish white mass creeping over their eye, most people are aware that they are developing a growth over the cornea. The real question is, what is it? And do you need to worry?
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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

Tips to Optimize Your LASIK Recovery

Tips to Optimize Your LASIK Recovery

When it comes to laser eye surgery, two things are true: being able to see clearly without eyeglasses or contacts is convenient; …

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Pterygium

4 Ways to Protect Yourself from a Pterygium

Unsightly but harmless is a pterygium on the eye. These wing-shaped fibrous growths are often called surfer’s eye due to …

The Difference Between LASIK and PRK

The Difference Between LASIK and PRK

If you’re one of the many bespectacled or be-contact-lensed individuals who have considered your options for no longer …