Medical & Surgical Ophthalmology



What is the pterygium?

Pterygium is an abnormal growth, due to inflammation, of the conjunctiva on to the nasal cornea, which is seen as a whitish area on the edge of the cornea.

You can invade it or not. It can occur in any part of the cornea but usually predominates on the nasal side. It is important to differentiate it from the pinguecula, which is a benign and local growth of the conjunctiva without it invading the cornea. Sometimes the pinguecula can grow and Lead to a pterygium.

Why does the pterigion occur?

Sun exposure and dry eyes are the main risk factors for developing a pinguecula or pterygium. That is why it tends to affect more people who live in hot and sunny climates, as well as those who work outside.

How does the pterigion manifest?

Initially, when the pterygium is small, it can be asymptomatic, but as it grows it can cause ocular discomfort that is reflected in a red eye, tearing, or the sensation of having a foreign body in the eyeball.

On the other hand, when it is already very advanced, the pterygium can compromise vision by covering the cornea and generating astigmatism due to traction on it.

Pterigion treatments

In mild cases, symptomatic treatment with lubricating drops can be used to avoid red eye and foreign body sensation. However, if the pterygium is advanced it can be surgically removed.

Pterygium prevention

Sun protection glasses or lubricating eye drops are the main preventive measure for the appearance of a pterygium.



The pterygium usually presents between 20 and 50 years of age.


Eye redness, foreign body sensation, tearing, and vision loss in severe cases.


It is recommended to use sunglasses and lubricating eye drops in the case of continued sun exposure and dry eyes, especially if pinguecula already occurs.

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