A pinguecula (pin-GWEK-yu-luh) is a slightly raised yellowish area or bump located on either or both sides of your cornea at 3:00 & 9:00. It is not a tumor, but a deposit of protein and fat in normal tissue. These areas can become more yellow with age but generally do not cause any problems.
A pterygium (tur-IH-jee-um) is an abnormal web-shaped growth of fleshy tissue. Related to the pinguecula, a pterygium is also located to either side of the cornea but most often appears on the nasal side and gradually advances onto the cornea. In later stages of growth, pterygia can become inflamed or irritated and/or interfere with vision. Ointments or eye drops can be used to help reduce the inflammation, but should the advancing pterygium become cosmetically unsightly or impair vision, a patient can elect to have it surgically removed. Even after proper surgical removal, a pterygium can return.
The major factor in the development of both pingueculae and pterygia is long-term exposure to ultraviolet rays (i.e. sunlight). Dryness, inflammation, and exposure to wind and dust may also contribute to their formation.
Remember to protect your eyes from ultraviolet rays with UV block coating on all glasses and sunglasses. Also, avoid or protect your eyes from repeated exposure to dry, dusty conditions. Talk to Dr. Baharozian about artificial tears and other treatment suggestions that can help.