Eye Growths: Pinguecula and Pterygium

Have you been told that you have a pinguecula or a pterygium? These are two very common growths we see on the eye.


A pinguecula is a tiny yellowish, slightly raised growth found on the white part of the eye just on the border of the coloured part. They are often found in middle aged or older people who spend a lot of time in the sun, but they can also be found in younger people including children who are often outdoors without sunglasses or hats.

In most cases a pinguecula will not cause any problems. However, if they are irritated, it will cause a scratchy itchy feeling in the eye. They may become inflamed and red with exposure to the sun, dust, wind and very dry conditions.

Treatment of a Pinguecula

For mild cases the best form of treatment is protective eyewear whenever you are exposed to the sun. A good pair of wrap-around sunglasses will usually do the trick. Moisture drops can help with the redness and scratchy feeling caused by a pinguecula. Always consult your eye doctor before using an over the counter eye drop.

Surgery is normally recommended when the pinguecula is greatly inflamed and affects your vision or blinking.


A pterygium is a triangular or wedged shaped growth on the white part of the eye. In some cases a pterygium can grow over the cornea and affect your vision. A pterygium is caused by long term exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun.

Just like a pinguecula, a pterygium is normally harmless. It may become red and inflamed on occasion and sometimes they become thick and swollen. This may cause a slight discomfort and become cosmetically unappealing.

In cases where the pterigium becomes very large, it grows onto the cornea and can cause astigmatism.

Treatment of a Pterygium

Lubricating eye drops work well to relieve any redness or discomfort. Consult your eye doctor before using any over the counter eye drop.

Surgery is recommended in cases where the pterygium is growing over the cornea and affecting vision. Unfortunately, a pterygium may re-grow after surgical removal and the re-growth is sometimes worse than the initial growth.

Again, a good pair of wrap-around sunglasses can protect your eyes from all angles.

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