Growth in the eye



Pterygium (pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um) is a common eye condition that affects people who spend a lot of time outdoors. People with pterygium have a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the white of the eye. It usually forms on the side closest to the nose.

It is a noncancerous lesion that usually grows slowly throughout life. Or it may stop growing after a certain point. In rare cases, a pterygium can continue growing until it covers the pupil of the eye and interferes with vision.

A pterygium may affect one or both eyes. When it affects both eyes, it is called a bilateral pterygium.

Pterygium is usually not a serious condition. But it can cause annoying symptoms such as a feeling of a foreign body in the eye


  • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light
  • Dry eye
  • Irritants such as dust and wind

It's most often seen in young adults’ ages 20 to 40. It appears to be more common in men than in women.


Right pterygium


  • Burning
  • Gritty feeling
  • Itching
  • Sensation of a foreign body in the eye
  • Blurred vision


See an ophthalmologist if you have symptoms of pterygium. Pterygium usually doesn't require treatment if symptoms are mild. If a temporary worsening of the inflamed condition causes redness or irritation, it can be treated with:

  • Lubricating eyedrops or ointments
  • Occasional use of vasoconstrictor eyedrops
  • Short course of steroid eyedrops

If the lesion causes persistent discomfort or interferes with vision, it can be surgically removed during an outpatient procedure. You and your doctor may also take into account appearance and the size of the pterygium when making a decision about surgery.


A pingueculum is a small, yellowish bump on the conjunctiva near the cornea. It can appear on either side of the cornea, but occurs more often on the nose (nasal) side. The growth may increase in size over many years.

Pingueculae can occur at any age, but they’re mainly found in middle-aged and elderly people.


It’s been linked to frequent exposure to sunlight, dust, or wind


Pinguecula will rarely cause symptoms but they can cause irritation if they become elevated.

  • Being yellowish in color
  • Itching and irritation
  • Having dry eyes
  • Redness when irritated
  • Gritty feeling or foreign body sensation.


Because they are benign tumors they will usually not require any type of treatment. If Pinguecula becomes inflamed and causes dryness your ophthalmologist or physician may prescribe artificial tears to help lubricate your eyes.. If the eye appears to be swollen you may be prescribed a mild anti-inflammatory medicine to help reduce it.

The ophthalmolgist may prescribe mild steroid eye drops to be used on a temporary basis.

It is very rare that a person has to have surgery but if the appearance of the Pinguecula bothers you, the ophthalmologist could remove it.