Pterygium eye disease. A pterygium is a triangular piece of tissue that grows from the corner of the eye mainly over the superficial layers of the cornea. It is harmless but can become a practical problem if it threatens to grow in front of the pupil and obstruct the field of view. Especially people who live or have lived in a warm climate are at risk of a pterygium. It develops more often and at a younger age than in people who have always lived in the Netherlands.
A pterygium usually grows from the corner of the eye closest to the nose, towards the pupil. It can be red with vessels in it or very thin and light gray. In the beginning you will not be bothered by it, except for possible cosmetic objections. In some cases it can cause an irritating or burning sensation, as if there is a dirt in your eye. A pterygium can slowly enlarge. When the tissue comes close to the pupil, you can get the complaints. You will see round objects deformed and visual acuity reduced, you will see more blurred.
How does a pterygium eye disease arise?
It is not yet clear exactly how a pterygium forms. It has now become clear that there are a number of factors that can promote the development of a pterygium. Sunlight is the most important of these. People who live in a warm climate are therefore more likely. There are indications that dryness and dust also play a role.
See also, Glaucoma is a common chronic eye disease
Is it serious and what can you expect?
A pterygium is not serious. It can cause complaints if it grows too close to the pupil, this is usually not the case in the Netherlands. An overgrowing pterygium can be remedied by treatment. Usually, the ophthalmologist can remove this with a minor operation. There is then a small chance, about five percent, that it will come back again. A pterygium eye disease does not damage the eye and cannot lead to blindness.
When to go to the doctor?
It is wise to make an appointment with your doctor if:
- keeps the pterygium feeling like there is a dirt in your eye
- you start to perceive round objects, deformed
- your visual acuity reduced by the pterygium (your vision becomes blurred)
In these cases, the doctor can remedy your complaints or refer you to an ophthalmologist.
What can you do about it yourself?
Once you have a pterygium eye disease, there is nothing you can do to make it go away.
General advice and precautions
In most cases a pterygium cannot be prevented.
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