Eye see what the problem is: Part 1
Pterygium is a difficult word to even pronounce let alone understand and yet is quite a common eye condition, particularly in countries close to the equator. The lay term for this eye condition is 'surfers eye' since it is associated with intense exposure to sun, wind and sand, all prominent among surfers who spend so much time in all three.
It appears as a small lesion sitting across the eye, usually pink and fleshy. Luckily it is benign, meaning it is noncancerous. The problem is that in some case it continues to grow, albeit slowly, throughout life. In particularly rare cases the pterygium can continue growing until it covers the pupil of the eye and actually impairs vision. Obviously in this case intervention would be required. In most cases however, pterygium is not considered a serious or concerning eye condition.
For the sufferer it is important to understand that certain symptoms will accompany it including a burning, gritty feeling, itching and sometimes the sensation that a foreign body resides in the eye. Suffice to say, it can be an irritating affliction.
An optometrist will easily determine if you have a pterygium. Unless it is exceptionally large or causing relentless discomfort or vision impairment, surgery will rarely be suggested. Usually, temporary relief is provided through the use of lubricating eye drops and ointments, sometimes the use of eyedrops or even a short course of steroid eyedrops have found to be particularly effective in the treatment of inflammation in the eye and pain relief.