This is a question that we tend to get relatively frequently as a Pterygium is a relatively common eye condition. It is a non-cancerous tissue growth that starts at the white part of the eye (conjunctiva) and grows across the very front of the eye (cornea). In the beginning of the tissue growth you may not notice much difference in your eye besides a slight discoloration. As the Pterygium progresses it will start to become vascularized which will give it more of a red look and also will look opaque in parts. A common symptom people have is that their eyes are always red and even using the “red-eye” products do not help much. You may also start to get some irritation as well including itching, burning, tearing or foreign body sensation. These symptoms can get worse as the Pterygium grows. If the Pterygium grows enough that it gets close to your line of sight then surgery would be indicated so that it does not effect your vision.
Now a Pterygium does not always progress as most people have a mild form but never need surgery. Usually they use eye drops to help if symptomatic and they wear UV protection to protect their eyes from sun and wind as these are common instigators and progressors of a Pteryium. It is more common to occur in people who are exposed to sun more (people who live closer to the equator) or people who make a living working outdoors.
The best way to try to prevent a Pterygium from forming is to always wear UV protection and to protect your eyes from the elements outdoors. If you or someone you know has a Pterygium or you notice a growth on the front of you eye, call (860) 233-2020. for an eye exam and let one of our doctors exam you and give the best recommendation for your needs.