Pterygium and Pinguecula

At a glance, pterygium and pinguecula look so similar it can be difficult to distinguish between the two conditions. While both pterygium and pinguecula develop on the exterior of the eye between the eyelids, there are a few subtle differences as well as similarities. Both pterygium and pinguecula are typically benign and only cause discomfort and an undesirable look to your eye.

Side Effects of Both Conditions: Pinguecula and pterygium can cause redness, itching, swelling, eye tenderness, and difficulty for contact lens wearers.

Pinguecula and Pterygium Causes

Pinguecula and pterygium are both believed to be the result of prolonged exposure to outdoor elements, high amounts of reflected UV light, and extended exposure to the sun without eye protection. Surfers commonly get these eye conditions, due to the highly reflective conditions in which they surf (which is why both are commonly referred to as “surfer’s eye”). While the exact cause of pinguecula and pterygium are unsure, these are some common factors related to their development. Typically, people who develop pinguecula and pterygium spend the majority of their time outdoors and in environments where they are exposed to large amounts of reflected UV light such as fishermen, sailors and surfers. Neglecting to wear proper eye protection when out in the sun is also another factor that can lead to pinguecula and pterygium.

pterygium pinguecula causes - surfing

Pterygium and Pinguecula: The Differences

Even though pterygium and pinguecula are similar in cause and side effects, there are quite a few differences. For example, pinguecula is centralized by the corner of the eye - typically on the side closer to the nose. Pinguecula is characterized by its yellow color and raised appearance and feeling. It typically grows in a triangular shape and will not usually impact vision. In some cases, pinguecula can turn into pterygium. Pterygium is characterized by its round or oval shape and its pink or flesh color. Over time, pterygium can spread across your eye and distort or reduce vision in the affected eye.

Pterygium and Cataract Occurrence

The number of people seeking care for pterygium and cataracts is on the rise. Cataracts cause your eye’s lens to be cloudy – like looking through a dusty or foggy windshield. This condition, when combined with pterygium and pinguecula is very frustrating, painful, and can result in almost no vision. More and more individuals affected by cataracts are also experiencing the development of pterygium. In many cases, when someone is affected by pterygium and cataracts it is advised to have both of them surgically removed simultaneously.

pterygium and cataract

Remedies for Pterygium, Pinguecula, and Cataracts

Often, people turn to home remedies (such as apple cider vinegar and castor oil) to get relief from their eye condition symptoms. These remedies are usually unhelpful. And, doctor-recommended treatments such as steroid drops or surgery, are either ineffective or invasive. Thankfully, there are alternatives that provide relief. Dipyridamole eye drops have helped many people with the symptoms of their eye conditions, including pterygium, pinguecula, and cataracts.  Data has shown that dipyridamole (a cardiovascular drug), when diluted greatly and used as an eyedrop, helps alleviate symptoms of pterygium and pinguecula. With continued use, people have seen marked improvement in the pterygium and their symptoms. Because of this discovery you can now find relief from the pain, discomfort, swelling and soreness. Dipyridamole eye drops are now available and are a remedy for pinguecula and pterygium.