Pterygium: Understanding eye webbing or “surfer’s eye”

Ptergiym There are many conditions that can impact the eyes. It is essential that patients take great care in protecting their eyesight and reducing their risk for avoidable problems. One condition that often results from lack of eye protection in the outdoors is that of pterygium.

What is pterygium?

Dr. Stuart P. Sondheimer describes pterygium, or “surfer’s eye” or “eye webbing,” as a benign growth that can disfigure one’s eyesight. The pterygium is a bump that develops on the eyeball in the white area of the eye called the sclera. It can invade the cornea and can cause blurry vision and discomfort.

What cause the development of pterygium?

There are several causes of pterygium, but the primary cause is often ultraviolet radiation exposure. UV radiation is often caused from spending time in the sun without eye protection. This is how the condition became known as “surfer’s eye,” as it is commonly related with those who are exposed to UV rays on a regular basis. Other causes may include dry eye, dust, and wind. The condition is rarely seen in children and typically develops on patients who are between the ages of 30 to 50-years-old.

Signs and symptoms of pterygium

  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Itching and burning of the eye
  • Inflammation that causes red eyes
  • Distortion of vision
  • Astigmatism
  • Growths on the side of the eyes
  • Impact to one or both eyes

What are treatment options for pterygium?

Treatment of pterygium will depend on the size and symptoms of the condition. Small growths may be treated with mild steroid eye drops or prescription lubricants to reduce redness and swelling. Surgery may be recommended for severe cases of pterygium to treat the condition for both cosmetic and visual purposes.

Request an appointment with Dr. Stuart P. Sondheimer

A condition such as pterygium is just one of many vision concerns that can be diagnosed and treated with our Skokie, IL team. If you are concerned about this or other eye health needs, we welcome you to schedule a consultation and examination with Dr. Stuart P. Sondheimer. Call (847) 677-2794 and visit us at 9150 Crawford Avenue, Ste. #201 today!

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