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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Pterygium of the conjunctiva and cornea


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Your Question

My friend has a Pterygium growth in his former (left) eye. He is going to have it operated within the next month. I wish to know the cause of this situation (is it due to a nutritional deficiency, a psychological effect or external cause?) and if there are any natural cures for this ailment.

Our Answer

We have identified the following information that we hope you find helpful. If you still have questions, please contact us.

What is pterygium of the conjunctiva and cornea?

Pterygium of the conjunctiva and cornea is a benign (non-cancerous) pink lesion that grows from the conjunctiva onto the cornea. They typically start from on the inner surface of the eye, and grow toward the the pupil. Long term exposure to ultraviolet light has been associated with causing this condition. Depending on the size of the pterygium, a person can experience vision problems. Surgical removal of the pterygium is often not needed unless it is causing irritation or vision loss.[1]
Last updated: 12/16/2013

What causes pterygium of the conjunctiva and cornea?

The specific cause of pterygium is not known. Risk factors include long term exposure to sunlight, specifically ultraviolet (UV) rays. As a result, people who spend a lot of time outdoors in sunny climates develop this condition more often. Pterygium is more common in countries near the equator, so living in subtropical and tropical climates may also be a risk factor.[2]
Last updated: 12/16/2013

How might pterygium of the conjunctiva and cornea be treated?

If a pterygium becomes red and irritated, lubricating eye drops or ointments can be placed onto the eye to reduce the inflammation. Patients with pterygium should wear ultraviolet protective sunglasses, use artificial tears, and avoid dry and dusty conditions. There is no cure for this condition but surgical removal may be an option for some individuals.[3] Medscape Reference provides additional detailed information on how this condition can be managed. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1192527-medication#showall
Last updated: 12/16/2013

References
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.