Caution must be practiced since they cause elevated pressure inside of the eye, which can lead to vision damage and cataracts if not properly supervised under the directions of the doctor.
Many people develop callous-like thickenings of the conjunctiva on the front of the eye, usually located on the nasal portion of the conjunctiva. Such eyes are susceptible to irritation caused by dry climates (especially with windy conditions), as well as toxic vapors, salt water spray, excessive exposure to the sun (ultraviolet radiation), and even inadequate natural lubrication of the eye (tears). There are 2 types of these raised, yellowish or yellowish-white patches: one type is a "pinguecula" and the other a "pterygium."
A pinguecula often is a benign yellowish growth due to the fatty degeneration of the conjunctival collagen fibers near the cornea to be replaced by thicker more durable fibers and sometimes calcium crystals.
It can emerge following a short exposure to damaging irritation, such as excessive dryness or sun (UV radiation). Continuous exposure increases tissue destruction.Welding also may be an occupational risk factor.
There has no effect on vision and takes weeks to months to resolve. The source of irritation must be eliminated; artificial lubricant drops may be used. Anti-inflammatory ointments may be prescribed for the irritation if experienced.
A pterygium, is a benign white to pink triangular wedge shaped growth in the conjunctiva, its base in the interpalpebral conjunctiva while its apex towards the cornea. Although it is caused by the same factors of a pinguecula (mainly excessive sunlight exposure, and tropical climates), it often has inflamed blood vessels infusing into it for nourishment.
A pterygium does not emerge from a pinguecula. Contrary to the pinguecula, a pterygium usually evolves