A pterygium (pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um) is a raised, triangular-shaped growth of tissue on the surface of the eye. It normally extends from the inner corner towards the center the eye and onto the cornea. If the pterygium grows over the cornea, can cause astigmatism and blurry vision.

The exact cause of pterygia is not well understood. Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the main risk factor, but long-term exposure to wind and dust and dry eyes may play a role.

In most cases, treatment for a pterygium is not needed. If it is red and swollen or causes discomfort, lubricating or steroid eye drops may help relieve these symptoms. If pterygium has grown large enough to cause vision problems, surgery options can be discussed with your eye surgeon. Limited exposure to the factors that lead to these growths may help prevent pterygium from reoccurring or growing bigger. You can do this by:

  • Wearing sunglasses when you are outside
  • Wearing glasses or goggles to protect eyes from dust and debris
  • Using artificial tears when your eyes are feeling dry