Pterygium (sometime's called "surfer's eye") is a disease characterized by a wedge-shaped tissue growth, or pterygia, over the white part of the surface of the eye that can actually alter the curve of the eyeball, causing astigmatism. A pterygium rarely grows so large that it begins to cover the pupil of the eye, but when it does, it typically requires surgical removal. Many people experience no symptoms with this condition other than the appearance. Others may have symptoms that include:
- Feeling like there's something in your eye
- Gritty feeling (like sand)
- Blurred vision
Pterygium is more common in sunny climates and among people 20-40 years of age. Scientists do not know what causes pterygia to develop. However, since people who manifest pterygium usually have spent a significant time outdoors (like surfers), many doctors believe ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may be a factor. Dr. Maher suggests that people who live in areas where sunlight is strong should wear protective eyeglasses, sunglasses, and/or hats with wide brims.
When you need an expert opinion on your vision health, call John Maher, MD, at (424) 328-0091.