There are a great many conditions that our Bernardsville eye doctor at our Somerset Hills Eye Care Center sees, one is pterygium, commonly known as surfer’s eye. You don’t have to take to the water to develop surfer’s eye it is found among people who spend a lot of time outdoors. The condition is characterized by a growth of pink fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines the eyelids and covers the eyeball. It usually forms on the side nearest the nose and spreads towards the pupil. The growth is not cancerous but if left to grow too far can affect vision. Pterygium can affect one or both eyes.
Pterygium may have no other symptoms beyond the appearance of the growth or may also cause redness in the eye, burning, the sensation that something is in the eye, itching and grittiness in the eye. According to our Bernardsville eye doctor, pterygium is caused by too much exposure to ultra-violet light from the sun, wind, dust and having dry eye, a condition where the eye is not sufficiently lubricated. Wearing sunglasses with UV protection can help prevent the condition.
During an eye exam our Bernardsville eye doctor will use a slit lamp test to help diagnose pterygium. There are several treatment options that are available and their use will be dictated by the patient’s discomfort level. For mild cases no treatment may be needed, especially if growth of the tissue has stopped. If the condition persists our doctor may recommend the use of over-the-counter eye ointments or wetting drops, eye drops that clear up redness and irritation or prescription steroid eye drops that reduce swelling, redness, itching and pain. In cases where the tissue is covering too much of the eye or affecting vision there is an outpatient procedure where the doctor will remove the growth and then use tissue from the conjunctiva to fill in the space where the growth was. If you suspect you have pterygium call our office for an appointment.