There is an eye condition called “Surfer’s Eye”. Can you guess how it got its name?
It’s not about the water…but If you thought it had to do with too much sun exposure, you would be right!
Long-term exposure to UV rays from the sun, as well as wind and dust, may result in growths on the surface of the eye. Surfers are particularly vulnerable, since they spend their time in the sun without sunglasses or other eye protection.
The technical term for growths on the eye caused by sun exposure are called Pinguecula and Pterygium. The condition appears on the eye’s conjuctiva (the clear covering over the white part of the eye.
Pinguecula is a yellowish, raised growth on the conjunctiva. It’s usually on the side of the eye near your nose, but can happen on the other side too. A pinguecula is an abnormality formed by protein deposits, calcium or fat. It’s like a callus on your finger or toe.
Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) is a growth of fleshy tissue (has blood vessels). It usually has a triangular shape. It can remain small or grow large enough to cover part of the cornea. When it grows into the cornea, it can interfere with your vision.
The symptoms of pinguecula and pterygium can range from mild to severe. They include:
- redness and swelling of the conjunctiva
- a yellow spot or bump that builds on the white of your eye
- dryness, itching and burning in the eye.
- sensation of something in the eye
- The best treatment is prevention…keep your eyes lubricated with artificial tears and wear sunglasses with UV protection.
- If you have the condition, lubricating eye drops will help to reduce discomfort.
- Your doctor can prescribe steroid eye drops which may reduce inflammation, redness and swelling in the eye.
- Surgical Removal: If eye drops alone don’t alleviate the symptoms, or if the growth is large enough to interfere with your vision, the growth can be removed surgically.
Protect your eyes, protect your vision. If you have any questions about caring for your sight, email, call or text our office. We are here to help!