A comparison between pinguecula and pterygium

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The eye has a wide variety of parts, including cornea, lens, pupil, ciliary body, iris, conjunctiva, vitreous humor, retina, sclera, macula and some others. Eye health is critical for clear and sharp eyesight. But another fact is that any of the parts listed here is quite delicate and needs careful protection. Until now, many ocular disorders and even diseases have been found to be linked with specific eye parts. For instance, macular degeneration occurs in the macula. Myopia, hyperopia and presbyopia are directly associated with the lens. Other similar conditions include retinal detachment, glaucoma and so forth. In this article, pinguecula and pterygium will be discussed in parallel, because they both occur on the surface of the sclera. Some people may be confused. In fact, these two eye problems are different in terms of causes, symptoms and treatments.

Some common points and differences between pingueculae and pterygia

Pingueculae are yellowish, slighted raised lesions on the sclera, while pterygia are wedge- or wing-shaped growths of benign fibrous tissue on it. Most pingueculae are found in the open space between eyelids, and pterygia may grow into cornea in extreme cases. Both of them are commonly related to overexposure to UV light, which is considered as a major contributing factor. Of course, these two eye problems can both affect people’s appearance.

How these two conditions differ in symptoms

In most cases, pingueculae and pterygia do not have obvious symptoms. However, they have different signs in some cases. Irritation-caused pinguecula make people feel something in the eye and some pingueculae may become swollen and inflamed, a condition named pingueculitis. Differently, some pterygia become red, large or thick. Large and advanced pterygia may cause corneal distortion and astigmatism.

Treatments for pinguecula

Pinguecula and pterygium also have subtle differences in treatments, but they can both benefit from sunlight protection for eyes. Mild pingueculitis symptoms such as foreign body sensation can be eased by lubricating eye drops. Steroid eye drops or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be prescribed to relieve serious inflammation and swelling caused by pinguecula. And more severe conditions of pingueculae require a surgical removal.

Treatments for pterygium and details of a pterygium procedure

Treatments for pterygium depend on its size and symptom. For small or slightly inflamed pterygia, lubricants or a mild steroid eye drop is enough, while severe pterygium needs surgical removal. A pterygium procedure can be operated either in the doctor’s office or in an operating room and involves various available techniques. An eyelid speculum help you open the eye during the removal process, which lasts less than an hour. Pterygia may reoccur even after a surgical removal at a chance between 3% and 40%. The surgeon may suture or glue a piece of surface eye tissue onto the affected area, in order to reduce the recurrence rate. Drugs such as mitomycin can also be prescribed to slow metabolic processes.