If you spend a lot of time in the sun, then you may be at risk of developing an uncomfortable growth called a pterygium. Natalia Tilki, DO, is an experienced ophthalmologist who treats pterygiums at Emerald Eye Center Inc. in Encino, California. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Tilik, call Emerald Eye Center Inc. or book online today.
A pterygium is a noncancerous growth that develops inside the membrane covering the conjunctiva, the white part of the eye. While this flesh-like tissue contains blood vessels, it typically isn’t uncomfortable. In rare instances, a pterygium can grow large enough to interfere with your vision, though it usually doesn’t.
Pterygiums rarely cause symptoms other than clear visibility. However, they can, in some cases. Common causes of a pterygium include:
You may not feel comfortable wearing contacts if you have a pterygium, as it can aggravate irritation. It’s also common to feel as if you have something stuck in your eye. In some rare cases, a pterygium can scar your cornea, which may significantly impair your vision.
While there’s no known cause, regular exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light does increase your risk of developing a pterygium. Sometimes called surfer’s eyes, this condition is far more common in individuals who spend a lot of time in the sun and wind, like surfers, swimmers, and runners.
These sports raise your chances of coming in contact with sand, pollen, and smoke, which can irritate the eyes.
Diagnosing a pterygium requires a visit to Emerald Eye Center Inc. At this visit, Dr. Tilki assesses your eye health and vision to determine whether your pterygium requires treatment. In many instances, a pterygium does not cause any damage or discomfort.
During your diagnostic visit, Dr. Tilki performs an array of tests to evaluate your vision. First, she administers a visual acuity test, where you read letters on an eye chart. Next, she performs a corneal topography test to identify any changes to the shape or size of your cornea. Finally, she takes photos to track how quickly your pterygium grows over time.
The first course of action when treating a pterygium is typically medication if the growth affects your vision. Medication can help reduce the redness and irritation. However, if that doesn’t provide enough relief, surgery to remove the pterygium may be necessary.
If you’re experiencing discomfort from a pterygium, call Dr. Tilki at Emerald Eye Center Inc., or book an appointment online today.