Pterygium (pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um) and pinguecula (pronounced pin-GWEK-yoo-la) are growths on the cornea (the clear front window of the eye) and the conjunctiva — the thin, filmy membrane that covers the white part of your eye (sclera). Both types of growths are believed to be caused by dry eye and environmental elements such as wind, dust and ultraviolet light (UV).
What is the difference betwen a pterygium and a pinguecula?
A pinguecula is a yellowish patch or bump on the conjunctiva, most often on the side closest to the nose. It is a change in the normal tissue that results in a deposit of protein, fat and/or calcium. It is similar to a callus on the skin. A pterygium is a growth of fleshy tissue, often arising from a pinguecula, on the conjunctiva that extends over the cornea.
This growth may remain small or grow large enough to interfere with vision. Symptoms of both pterygium and pinguecula can range from mild to severe and may include:
- redness and/or inflammation, especially during the growth of a pterygium;
- blurred vision;
- gritty feeling; feeling of having foreign material in your eye.