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Pinguecula and Pterygium

By

Melvin I. Roat

, MD, FACS, Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University

Last full review/revision Apr 2021| Content last modified Apr 2021
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Pinguecula and pterygium are fleshy growths on the conjunctiva Overview of Conjunctival and Scleral Disorders The conjunctiva is the membrane that lines the eyelid and loops back to cover the sclera (the tough white fiber layer covering the eye), right up to the edge of the cornea (the clear layer in... read more (the membrane that lines the eyelid and covers the white of the eye). A pinguecula does not overlap the cornea (the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil), but a pterygium does.

An Inside Look at the Eye

An Inside Look at the Eye

A pinguecula is a raised yellowish white growth next to, but not overlapping, the cornea. This growth can be unsightly, but it typically does not cause any significant problems and does not need to be removed.

A pterygium is a fleshy growth of the conjunctiva that spreads across onto the cornea. Most pterygia do not cause symptoms, but sometimes they cause irritation or distort the shape of the cornea, possibly causing a decrease in vision, and it can also be a cosmetic concern.

To relieve symptoms caused by a pterygium, doctors may prescribe artificial tears or a short period of treatment with corticosteroid drops or ointments. If the symptoms do not lessen, particularly if vision is affected, or they return frequently, the pterygium may be removed surgically. Growth of a pterygium can be slowed with protection from sunlight, such as when wearing sufficiently protective sunglasses (with UV blocking) and/or a hat.

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Eye Redness
Eye redness is a condition in which the part of the eye that is normally white appears reddish. This occurs when blood vessels on the surface of the eye widen (dilate), bringing extra blood to the eye. Which of the following is NOT a frequent cause of eye redness? 
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