Pterygiums are more common in people who have long term exposure to sunlight

Sun and UV exposure can cause significant problems for your eyes. Pterygium is one of the more common problems caused by UV exposure. About one in every 100 Australians develop a pterygium.

Pterygiums are more common in people who have long term exposure to sunlight especially when younger, but dry, dusty or sandy environments can also make them grow.

What is a Pterygium?

Pterygiums are a growth of tissue on the front membrane surface of the eye. Pterygiums can become red and irritated and cause watery eyes. They can sometimes be painful.

In most cases the growth starts from the inner corner of your eye, nearest your nose, on the clear layer over the white of your eye. If left untreated it may grow across the cornea (the cover of your pupil and iris) and affect your vision. The centre of your cornea must remain clear and without distortion to maintain good vision.

Prescribed ointments and drops can assist in soothing the inflammation.

Pterygiums are not dangerous, but they do need to be monitored as they may grow far enough onto the cornea to interfere with your vison.

Your optometrist uses a corneal topography instrument to map and measure the front surface of your eye to detect any changes occurring in the size of the pterygium and any distortion it may cause. Or they may use digital imagery of your cornea to help determine any advancement of growth.

If the Pterygium’s growth gets to the stage where it is a threat to vision, then it should be surgically removed.

To reduce the risks of developing a Pterygium or having an existing one getting worse, protect your eyes from sun, dirt, dust and sand by wearing well fitted sunglasses.

Our staff can assist you to protect your eyes with an expertly fitted pair of sunglasses from our extensive range.

If you have any of the symptoms of Pterygium or any other eye health problem, please make an appointment to get your vision health assessed by our experienced optometrists.