Summer is upon us and the most important thing to remember when spending more time outdoors is your sunglasses. We all know the sun can be very damaging to our eyes. By using a good pair of protective sunglasses which block harmful UV – YOU can help to protect them! A fibro-vascular conjunctival growth, known as a pterygium, can result from excessive UV exposure and radiation. Men and women of all ages are at risk of developing pterygia, especially if spending many hours outdoors.
By wearing your sunglasses and a hat you can reduce the amount of UV reaching the eye and so help prevent
further growth of existing pterygia or formation of any new pterygia.
The most common sign and symptoms associated with pterygia include red eyes, inflammation, foreign body
sensation, burning, tearing, dry and itchy eyes. Artificial tear supplements such as Teargel can give symptomatic
A pterygium is a benign growth which doesn’t usually require surgical removal, unless it encroach the corneal
margin or covers the pupil, thus preventing light from entering the eye. This process can take years before it
actually threatens sight. When it happens, surgical removal will be the only effective treatment. Surgery can be
done by means of irradiation, conjunctival auto-grafting or amniotic membrane transplantation. Even though
surgery holds minimum risk you can experience substantial discomfort afterwards and recurrence is possible.
But even though a pterygium is seen as benign, you still need to have it examined by your optometrist as it might
be more than just a superficial growth caused by sun damage. If the growth shows any discoloration, sudden
increase in size, discharge, causes blurry vision or if not positioned at the nasal or temporal conjunctiva, you need
to consult with your optometrist or ophthalmologist for advice.
Visit VISION Optometrists to have your eyes examined.