Have you recently noticed a lump in your eye that appears to be getting bigger? Did it make you wonder if it could be cancer?
Has one of your eyes been dry and inflamed and you’re concerned that you might have gotten a piece of dirt stuck in it? You’ve tried everything that you could think of to clean your eyes but nothing has worked? You may have pterygium.
Continue reading to learn more about this eye condition and 3 signs that could mean you have it!
What is Pterygium?
Pterygium (te-ridge-e-um) is a common eye condition in people who spend a lot of time outside. It’s a growth inside the eye that consists of pink fleshy tissue on the white part of the eye.
It usually grows from the inside corner of the eye to the iris and has a triangular shape. Pterygium is non-cancerous and usually grows slowly over time.
It may stop at any time or it may continue to grow until it covers the pupil of your eye. This will affect your vision until you have it removed.
The most significant cause of pterygium may be excessive exposure to ultraviolet light. It tends to be more common in people who live in sunny areas and work outdoors where they are exposed to UV light.
Farmers and fishermen may be at high risk. You may also be at risk for pterygium if someone in your family has had it.
Environmental irritants like wind, chemicals, dust, or air pollution are also common causes.
Here are 3 signs that you may already have pterygium:
1) Burning and Itching Eyes
Pterygium may make your eye feel itchy and uncomfortable. You may think that the gritty, burning feeling is because you’ve got something in your eye.
You’ve even tried eye drops and washing your eye out with water but the feeling doesn’t completely go away.
2) You Have A Growth In Your Eye
Pterygium can grow in your eye and not cause any problems. You may not even realize that it is there at first.
Or you may notice that you have redness and a lump in the corner of your eye closest to your nose. You’ll probably want it removed because it looks odd, even if you don’t know what it is.
3) Your Vision Is Blurry
There are many reasons why your vision may be blurry (you need a new eye prescription, certain medications, etc.). Chances are if you already have the first two signs of pterygium then that’s the reason why.
You may have blurred vision because the growth is covering part of your eye and making it hard for you to see. It’s best to check with your eye doctor about having it removed.
If the growth is affecting your vision, your eye doctor may want to perform surgery on your eye to remove the growth. If your pterygium is small and not affecting your vision, it may be okay to leave it alone.
If you choose to leave it alone, your eye doctor may prescribe a topical corticosteroid to reduce redness and inflammation. They may also prescribe eye drops to keep your eyes from becoming too dry.
How To Prevent a Pterygium
To help prevent the growth of a pterygium protect your eyes from environmental irritants and harsh UV light. Always wear safety glasses while working around dust, smoke, or other chemical pollutants.
Always wear sunglasses that block UV light whenever you’re outside. If you’ve already had a pterygium, you become more likely to develop one again in the future.
Think you might have pterygium? Schedule an appointment with Westlake Eye Specialists in Austin, TX today!
Don’t go another day with an uncomfortable growth in your eye. Schedule an appointment now!