Sunlight does more than damage your skin. It also takes a toll on your eyes, causing eye diseases like cataracts and pterygium. The experienced optometrists at Eye Q Optique specialize in diagnosing pterygium, a common eye growth that can lead to permanent damage and vision loss. If you have red eyes or a growth, don't wait to schedule an appointment. Book one online or call the office in Buffalo Grove or the Tri-Taylor or Near West Side neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois.
Pterygium is a growth that develops on the conjunctiva, the membrane that covers your eyes. The growth starts in the corner of your eye, usually on the side near your nose, but it may also start on the other side.
The growth gradually spreads, forming a band of tissue that progresses toward the center of your eye. Without treatment, pterygium can invade the cornea, causing permanent damage that affects your vision.
Pterygium primarily develops due to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, whether from the sun or tanning beds. You also have a higher risk of developing pterygium if you have dry eyes.
Spending time on the water raises your chance of pterygium because you get UV light from above and from its reflection off the water. Additionally, the wind and sand on the beach irritate your eyes, boosting the likelihood of developing pterygium. For these reasons, pterygium is often called surfer's eye.
Pterygium may begin from a yellow spot or bump on the white of your eye, a condition called pinguecula. Over time, you experience symptoms such as:
You can have pterygium in one or both eyes.
Your cumulative exposure to UV light determines your risk of developing pterygium. After the growth begins, your ongoing exposure to sunlight influences the rate at which it spreads and the severity of the problem.
You can significantly lower your risk by wearing UV-blocking sunglasses. It also helps to keep your eye moist with artificial tears. You especially need to protect your eyes with sunglasses after pterygium develops.
A mild case of pterygium may only need artificial tears, gels, or ointments to reduce inflammation and relieve symptoms like redness or irritation. Your provider also monitors the growth.
If you notice a spot or growth in your eye, don't wait to seek treatment. Call Eye Q Optique or book an appointment online today.