Living in a sunny climate can be an ideal choice for living and working for some people but it can also expose you to greater and longer levels of ultraviolet rays. Most people know that wearing sun protection in the form of UV protection sunglasses and hats is a good idea for protecting the skin, but these proactive measures can also prevent eye damage too. Sunlight, dust, sand, heat and wind can affect the eyes in a variety of ways from allergies to a condition known as surfer’s eye, medically called pterygium. Pterygium risk factors also include working in environments with excessive exposure to chemicals and solvents as well as family history.
Pterygium is a non-cancerous, pink fleshy growth that begins in the clear, thin tissue, known as conjunctiva, in the eye. The pterygium covers the sclera, white part of the eye, and progresses onto the cornea. Pterygium is usually slightly raised and contains visible blood vessels. Symptoms include eye redness and inflammation, eye irritation, thickening in the corner of the eye, the feeling that something is in the eye, a burning sensation, itchiness, blurred vision that is caused by corneal distortion and eventually severe vision problems as the growth extends across the pupil.
The main goals of treating pterygium are healing the eye for normal and clear vision as well as to prevent the progression, inflammation and infection pterygium causes. So how do you stop pterygium from growing? Prevention begins with wearing dark glasses with UV protection and avoiding harsh conditions to slow the growth or regrowth of pterygium. The growth of pterygium can take months or even years and may stay the same size. Typically, visual symptoms go unnoticed until it covers the cornea. To treat pterygium, your eye doctor will offer medications such as prescription topical antibiotics to prevent infection and/or topical corticosteroids to reduce inflammation. Artificial tears can also be helpful. Sometimes special contact lenses are prescribed during the healing process to further reduce UV ray exposure and other irritants. In the rare event vision has not improved with medication and becomes severely blurred, the pterygium may be surgically removed.
If you have developed pterygium growth, Eye Institute of South Jersey, P.C. offers a variety of eye tests to determine the impact on your vision and eye health. We can offer you solutions to slow growth and provide comfort to symptoms caused by pterygium. Schedule your appointment by calling 856-205-1100 or for more information visit WEBSITE.