A pterygium is a fleshy, triangular-shaped thickening of the conjunctiva which grows slowly over time and may encroach on the cornea.
It is more common in the tropics and the 20 to 40 age group. Ultraviolet radiation is thought to be the most likely contributing factor but the exact cause is yet unknown.
Pterygia are usually asymptomatic although some thicker ones may cause complaints of irritation, tearing or frequent red eyes.
Advanced pterygia may also grow onto the cornea, covering the pupil and thus affect vision.
The only means to remove a pterygium is through surgery and is recommended when it has grown large enough to block vision or is causing eye complaints.
Surgery can also be considered for cosmetic reasons.
The procedure is carried out on an outpatient basis.
The risk of recurrence is generally low when the surgery is well-done.
A pinguecula is a small yellowish-grey lesion at the side of the cornea. It is harmless and does not usually cause any symptoms but some patients may experience irritation, tearing and redness.
Eyedrops can be prescribed to relieve the complaints but the pingecula can otherwise be left alone.