- Frequently asked questions:
- FAQ on Symptoms
- FAQ on clinical signs
- FAQ on natural treatment
- FAQ on surgery
- FAQ on Recovery
What is surfer’s eye?
Pterygium, commonly known as surfer’s eye, is characterized by a pink, fleshy growth on the conjunctiva, the transparent membrane that lines and shields the eyeball. This tissue usually emerges on the inner portion of the eye closest to the nose, advancing towards the pupil.
Surfer’s eye or pterygium, is a non-cancerous growth that develops on the clear, thin tissue covering the white part of the eye (conjunctiva) and may extend onto the cornea. It is often seen in people who spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly surfers, hence the name “surfer’s eye.”
The condition is caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and wind, and is more common in people who live in sunny, dry climates. Symptoms of surfer’s eye may include redness, irritation, blurred vision, and a feeling that something is in the eye.
While surfer’s eye is not typically a serious condition, it can cause discomfort and affect vision if it grows large enough to interfere with the cornea. Treatment options for surfer’s eye may include eye drops or ointments to relieve symptoms, as well as surgical removal of the growth if it is large enough or causing significant discomfort. Wearing protective eyewear, such as sunglasses, can also help prevent surfer’s eye.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of surfer’s eye, or pterygium, can vary depending on the size and location of the growth. Some common symptoms may include:
- A raised, fleshy growth on the surface of the eye
- Redness and inflammation of the conjunctiva
- Irritation or discomfort in the eye
- Dryness or a feeling of grittiness in the eye
- Blurred vision or distortion of the cornea (in more severe cases)
- Sensitivity to light
- Itching or burning sensations
In some cases, surfer’s eye may not cause any noticeable symptoms, especially in its early stages. However, as the growth progresses and expands onto the cornea, it can cause more significant discomfort and affect vision. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or have noticed a growth on the surface of your eye, it’s important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Why is pterygium called surfers eye
Pterygium is sometimes called “surfer’s eye” because it is a common condition among people who spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight and windy conditions, such as surfers. The name “surfer’s eye” implies that the condition is more likely to affect surfers than other people, but it can actually affect anyone who spends a lot of time outdoors in sunny, dry environments.
The connection between pterygium and surfing may be due to the fact that surfers often spend long hours in the sun and wind, and are exposed to high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a known risk factor for the development of pterygium. In addition, surfers are often in and out of the water, which can cause dryness and irritation in the eyes, potentially making them more susceptible to the development of pterygium.
While “surfer’s eye” is a common term for pterygium, it’s important to note that this condition can affect anyone who is regularly exposed to UV radiation and windy conditions, not just surfers.
The exact cause of pterygium, or surfer’s eye, is not fully understood, but it is believed to be related to prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and other environmental factors. Here are some of the known causes and risk factors of pterygium:
- UV radiation: Exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds is a known risk factor for pterygium. UV radiation can cause changes in the conjunctiva and cornea, leading to the development of a pterygium.
- Dry, windy environments: Living or working in dry, windy environments can increase the risk of developing pterygium. The wind can cause dryness and irritation in the eyes, making them more susceptible to the growth of a pterygium.
- Age: Pterygium is more common in people over the age of 40.
- Gender: Pterygium is more common in men than in women.
- Genetics: There may be a genetic component to the development of pterygium, as it tends to run in families.
- Other environmental factors: Exposure to dust, pollutants, and other environmental factors may also increase the risk of developing pterygium.
If you are at risk for developing pterygium, it’s important to protect your eyes from UV radiation by wearing sunglasses or other protective eyewear when you are outdoors. If you are experiencing symptoms of pterygium or notice a growth on your eye, it’s important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
How Long does Pterygium last?
The duration of surfer’s eye, or pterygium, can vary depending on the severity of the condition and the type of treatment used. In some cases, surfer’s eye may not cause any noticeable symptoms and may not require treatment. However, if the growth becomes large enough or begins to interfere with vision, treatment may be necessary.
The most common treatment for surfer’s eye is surgical removal of the growth. This can be done on an outpatient basis and typically involves the use of local anesthesia to numb the eye. After the surgery, the eye may be red and irritated for a few weeks, and vision may be blurry for a few days. It may take several weeks for the eye to fully heal, and in some cases, a recurrence of the growth is possible.
In cases where the surfer’s eye is mild, treatment with artificial tears, lubricating eye drops, or anti-inflammatory medications may be sufficient to relieve symptoms and prevent further growth of the pterygium. However, these treatments may not eliminate the pterygium completely, and the growth may continue to slowly progress over time.
In general, the duration of surfer’s eye depends on the severity of the condition and the effectiveness of the chosen treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms of surfer’s eye or have noticed a growth on your eye, it’s important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation and appropriate treatment.
Is it a serious condition?
Surfer’s eye, or pterygium, is generally not a serious condition, but it can cause discomfort and affect vision in some cases. In its early stages, it may not cause any noticeable symptoms and may not require treatment. However, if the growth becomes large enough, it can cause redness, irritation, dryness, and discomfort in the eye. In more severe cases, the growth may extend onto the cornea, causing blurred vision or distortion of the cornea.
While surfer’s eye is not typically a sight-threatening condition, it’s important to monitor any growths on the surface of the eye and see an eye doctor if you notice any changes or worsening symptoms. In some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the growth and prevent further progression. It’s also important to take steps to prevent surfer’s eye by protecting your eyes from UV radiation and wearing protective eyewear in bright sunlight and windy conditions.
Overall, while surfer’s eye is not a life-threatening condition, it can be uncomfortable and affect vision if left untreated, so it’s important to seek appropriate medical attention if you are experiencing symptoms or have noticed a growth on your eye.
Difference between Pterygium and Pingecula?
A pterygium and a pinguecula are both growths that can occur on the conjunctiva, which is the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye. While they may look similar, there are some differences between the two:
- Location: A pinguecula typically occurs on the sclera (white part of the eye) next to the cornea, while a pterygium can occur on the sclera or cornea itself.
- Appearance: A pinguecula is usually a yellowish or whitish raised bump on the eye, while a pterygium is typically fleshy and wedge-shaped and can extend onto the cornea.
- Symptoms: A pinguecula may not cause any noticeable symptoms, while a pterygium can cause redness, irritation, dryness, and discomfort in the eye.
- Progression: A pinguecula may not grow or change significantly over time, while a pterygium can continue to grow and potentially cause vision problems if left untreated.
Both pinguecula and pterygium are thought to be caused by exposure to UV radiation, wind, dust, and other environmental factors. While they are generally not serious conditions, it’s important to monitor any growths on the surface of the eye and see an eye doctor if you notice any changes or worsening symptoms. If a pterygium becomes large enough to affect vision or cause discomfort, surgery may be necessary to remove the growth.
Do I need surgery?
Whether or not you need surgery for a pinguecula or pterygium depends on the size and location of the growth, as well as any symptoms you may be experiencing. In most cases, a pinguecula does not require treatment unless it is causing discomfort or affecting your vision. However, if a pterygium is large enough to cause significant redness, irritation, dryness, discomfort, or vision problems, your eye doctor may recommend surgery to remove the growth.
Surgery for a pterygium is typically a minor procedure that can be performed on an outpatient basis. During the surgery, the growth is removed and the affected area is covered with a graft of healthy tissue to help prevent the pterygium from recurring. After the surgery, your doctor will likely recommend taking steps to prevent the growth from coming back, such as wearing protective eyewear and using lubricating eye drops.
If you have a pinguecula or pterygium and are concerned about your symptoms or the appearance of the growth, it’s important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation and appropriate treatment. They can help you determine whether surgery is necessary and what the best course of action is for your individual situation.
Prevention of Pterygium or recurrence
The following measures may help prevent the development or recurrence of a pterygium or pinguecula:
- Protect your eyes from UV radiation: UV radiation from the sun can increase the risk of developing a pterygium or pinguecula. To reduce this risk, wear a hat with a wide brim and UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re outdoors.
- Wear protective eyewear: In addition to UV-blocking sunglasses, consider wearing protective eyewear when participating in activities that expose your eyes to wind, dust, and other environmental factors. This can include activities like surfing, skiing, and biking.
- Use lubricating eye drops: If your eyes feel dry or irritated, use lubricating eye drops to help soothe and protect your eyes.
- Avoid smoking: Smoking can increase the risk of developing a pterygium or pinguecula, as well as other eye problems like cataracts and macular degeneration.
- Maintain good eye hygiene: Keep your eyes clean and free of debris by washing your hands frequently and avoiding rubbing your eyes.
- Monitor any growths on your eye: If you notice any growths on your eye, monitor them for changes in size or appearance, and see an eye doctor if you have any concerns.
By taking these steps, you can help reduce your risk of developing a pterygium or pinguecula and help prevent the growth from recurring after surgical removal.
Special surgical techniques Khanna Vision uses to prevent recurrence
- Accurate marking and removal of the entire pterygium
- Smoothen the surface of cornea
- Removal of the membrane called tenons
- Heat to close vessels feeding it
- Proportionate conjunctival graft
- Glue the graft with no stitches
The recurrence rate of a pterygium after surgical removal can vary, but it generally ranges from 1to 30 percent. Factors that can increase the risk of recurrence include a large size of the original pterygium, previous recurrence, and failure to take steps to prevent the growth from coming back, such as wearing protective eyewear and using lubricating eye drops.
To reduce the risk of recurrence, your doctor may recommend taking certain precautions after the surgery, such as using lubricating eye drops, avoiding exposure to UV radiation and wind, and wearing protective eyewear when outside. They may also recommend follow-up appointments to monitor the affected area and catch any signs of recurrence early. At Khanna Vision we include all drops and followups with an eye to prevent recurrence.
In some cases, additional surgery may be necessary if a pterygium recurs after surgical removal. However, with proper precautions and follow-up care, the risk of recurrence can be minimized.
Frequently Asked Questions:
FAQ on Clinical Symptoms:
What are the causes and treatment of pterygium of eye?
There are multiple factors contributing to the origin, growth and progression of Pterygium.The main culprit has been ultraviolet radiation coming from the sun. That is why it’s more common around the equator and people who are exposed to the sun like surfers and farmers.
Prevention includes wearing UV protective glasses keeping the eyes hydrated. Treatment includes various kinds of drops and finally surgery.
is pterygium hereditary?
Pterygium may have some genetic influence. That’s why it is more common in certain groups like Hispanics and in certain families. We have also observed the recurrence rate is higher in some ethnic groups. The exact genes associated with this condition have not been documented yet.
What pterygium meaning?
The term “pterygium” comes from the Greek word “pterygos,” which means “wing.”
Pterygium what is meaning in Spanish?
What is pterygium nail?
Pterygium nail is a rare finding in which fibrovascular tissue resembling the corneal growth occurs under the nail of a finger or toe.
Can pterygium cause eye pain?
This growth on the eye causes redness and irritation most of the times. sometimes the nerves in the growth can get stimulated and they can be sharp pain or constant pain.
Can pterygium cause blurry vision?
Pterygium can cause blurry vision and dry eyes. The elevation of the growth prevents the lid to spread the tear film evenly leading to patches which don’t get any tears and hence nutrition. they may also cause astigmatism when they grow onto the cornea and act like a rope pulling the cornea.
Does pterygium affect vision?
Pterygium can affect vision by causing astigmatism, distortion of the cornea, and blocking or distorting the line of sight.
how fast does it grow?
Pterygium can grow relatively fast in some cases, although the rate of growth can vary widely from person to person.
is pterygium serious?
In most cases the region may not be a problem but in some patients it can cause serious side effects like education pain and distortion or even loss of vision.
Pterygium when to refer?
It should be referred to an eye surgeon specializing in its surgical treatment when it starts progressing or irritation or redness is unbearable.
FAQ on clinical signs:
What are the 3 grades of pterygium?
Grade 1 refers to the pterygium whose head is located between limbus and a point midway between limbus and pupil.
Grade 2 indicates the pterygium with the head located between a point midway between limbus and pupillary margin and pupillary margin. Grade 3, the head crosses the pupil margin.
What are the 4 grades of Recurrent pterygium?
Grade 1 consists of cases with a normal operative site.
Grade 2 indicates the presence of fine episcleral vessels without fibrous tissue.
Grade 3 represents cases with fibrous tissue not invading the cornea.
Grade 4 indicates true recurrent pterygia with a fibrovascular tissue invading the cornea.
Can pterygium make you go blind?
While pterygium can cause vision problems, it is rare for it to cause total blindness. However, if left untreated, it can grow large enough to cover the cornea and cause astigmatism or scarring, which can lead to reduced vision. In very rare cases, pterygium can also lead to corneal ulcers or other serious complications that can threaten vision. Therefore, it is important to seek treatment for pterygium if you notice any changes in your vision or discomfort in your eye.
How does pterygium cause with-the-rule astigmatism?
The growth of pterygium over the cornea causes its attachment to act like a horizontal rope. It flattens the cornea in that direction, whereas the vertical remains unchanged. This results in with-the-rule astigmatism, where vertical meridian is more myopic.
Why is pterygium more commonly found on the nasal side?
Pterygium is more common on the nasal side of the eye due to greater exposure to UV radiation. The shadow of the nose is believed to protec the other side called temporal.
What does a yellow bump on the eyeball suggest?
A yellow bump on the eyeball may indicate the presence of a benign growth of conjunctiva tissue known as pinguecula, which is similar to pterygium. However, a comprehensive evaluation by an eye doctor is essential for proper diagnosis and treatment.
What is the growth pattern of pterygium?
Pterygium may grow over a span of several months to years, and this growth can be halted temporarily. It is more likely to cause visual symptoms when it grows and covers the cornea.
What are the consequences of leaving pterygium untreated?
Untreated pterygium can lead to visual complications, such as complete corneal coverage, chronic inflammation, irritation, and disruptions in contact lens wearing.
Can pterygium develop into cancer?
Pterygium is not a cancer. It does not spread by blood to other parts pf the body. Rarely it may transform into a cancer. That is why sometimes biopsy is done to rule out any presence of cancer cell.
When is the appropriate time to remove pterygium?
Pterygium removal is suggested when it impairs vision, causes chronic inflammation and irritation, or interferes with contact lens wear.
What percentage of the population suffers from pterygium?
It may vary form 1 in a 100 to 51 in a 100. Equatorial inhabitants are more prone.
Is pterygium a common eye condition?
Pterygium is relatively common in between the tropical areas, particularly in individuals who spend a significant amount of time outdoors in sunny, windy, or dusty conditions.
What are the consequences of leaving pterygium untreated?
Most pterygiums will not cause major problems. Some may cause redness and irritation. A few may cause decrease or even loss in vision.
Are pinguecula and pterygium the same?
Although they share some characteristics, pingecula and pterygium are not the same.
FAQ on non surgical or natural treatment:
Is there any conservative treatment for pterygium?
Conservative treatment options for pterygium include the use of lubricating eye drops, wearing protective eyewear (e.g., sunglasses) to reduce UV exposure and irritation, and using medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroids to reduce inflammation and discomfort.
How to get rid of pterygium naturally?
Protection from UV or ultraviolet light by wearing proper sunglasses. Wide brim hats and caps may also be very useful. Artificial tears and I your ointment lubricate the cornea. They provide a film which prevents evaporation of the natural tears. By conserving our natural tears and providing a barrier to outside light they are helpful. Rose water drops made from petals of roses are a mainstay of Ayurvedic treatment for prevention of Pterygium. Washing the eyes at the end of the day and early morning with the Rose and Trifla water may help.
For farmers and surfers who were exposed to the sun a lot it is very important to use natural methods to prevent onset of Pterygium the same interventions can be used to prevent the progression and sometimes reverse the course of the surfers’ eye
Do eye drops help pterygium?
Eye drops are both helpful in preventing onset of terium and its progression the drops act as a barrier for the UV radiation from hitting the surface of the eyes.
What vitamin is good for pterygium?
Vitamin A also plays a vital role in the development and maintenance of epithelial tissue, the cells that line or cover body surfaces. Taking vitamin A supplements or pharmaceutical-grade vitamin A eyedrops may be beneficial for preventing and treating pterygium.
What eye drops can I use for pterygium?
There are three classes of drops to be used for surfer’s eye.
Ayurvedic drops like Triffla and Rose
Artificial tears – Regular and preservative free
Medicated drops like Xiidra and Restasis
Home Remedies for Pterygium
Keep a cotton swab soaked in rose water over the eyes for 10 – 15 minutes a day, it can relieve symptoms like strain and pain in the eyes.
Pure honey 1 drop in both eyes in the morning is a good pterygium eye treatment. Put rosewater inside the eyes for the redness to curb the excess heat
FAQ on surgery:
Can pterygium go away on its own or is surgery the only option?
Surfers’ eye or Pterygium is a name for a butterfly shaped growth which comes from the conjunctiva to the cornea. It usually does not go away though its progress can be stopped with judicious use of eye drops ointments punctal occluders and protection from UV light. Rarely a very small pterygium can get reabsorbed.
How can you get rid of pterygium?
The only way to get rid of pterygium completely is through surgery. However, there are non-surgical treatments available to reduce symptoms and prevent further growth, such as eye drops and protective eyewear.
Is pterygium surgery painful?
Pterygium surgery in Doctor Khanna’s hands is painless. There are certain steps he and his staff take based on his three decades experience of treating this abnormal growth. The first step is to Give oral Xanax to take the anxiety off and make the patient calmer.
Next step is to put pain relief drops followed by a lubricating ointment containing ingredients to prevent pain. Finally, once the eye is numb further anesthesia is instilled below the terrarium. The patient is not put to sleep nor are any injections given around the eye. This prevents anesthesia wearing off and pain occurring once the pain patient reaches home.
Are you put to sleep for pterygium surgery?
No, you are not put to sleep for Pterygium surgery. It is performed under topical anesthetic with light sedation. With the right surgeon and surgical team, it is a painless easy procedure rarely for kids’ deeper sedation and even general anesthesia (i.e. being put to sleep for the surgery) can be requested if required.
How much is surfer eye surgery?
The average cost, as of 2023, for cosmetic pterygium surgery in California is $3,625. The price can range from more than $2,000 to $6,000, depending on what’s included (like exams, follow ups and prevention of recurrence therapy), the extent of your pterygium, and the surgeon’s skill level. The prices may vary in other parts of United States and the world depending on the cost of living.
Can pterygium be treated without surgery?
Pterygium therapy should be always conservative before surgical removal is considered. Very small growths like Pinguecula and early Pterygium may even disappear with this approach. Even if surgery is resorted to the outcomes are better if treatment has already been started.
Is pterygium a major surgery?
No Pterygium surgery is not considered a major surgery. In the right surgical hands, it is a quick 15-20 minute procedure. It is usually performed in a minor surgical suite unlike cataract which requires a certified sterile surgical room.
What is the success rate of pterygium surgery?
The success rate ranges from 60% to 99%. This is based on the skill of the surgeon the attention to detail during the procedure and the proper techniques used.
Does insurance cover pterygium?
Pterygium surgery is often covered by medical insurance. Certain factors have to be met. These include daddy Jim growing at a rapid rate, interfering with vision, or causing double vision. Smaller Pterygium removal are considered cosmetic and are self pay.
Should I have my pterygium removed?
It is a personal choice to remove when it is not causing blindness or double vision. It is better to nip the problem in the bud then to deal with the sequelae later. So, we recommend to remove the Pterygium when it first starts growing or causes dry eyes are interferes in vision.
When is pterygium surgery necessary?
The surgical removal becomes necessary when it goes towards the pupil and causes glare at night, irregular refraction dry eyes, or even decrease in vision. Double vision and constant irritation may be another factor. Sometimes it’s removed on suspicion of transformation to a cancer.
FAQ on Recovery:
- What should I do to protect my eyes after surgery? You should wear your eye shield at bedtime for 2 weeks after surgery.
- Is there anything else I should be aware of when taking care of my eyes after surgery? Yes, you should wash your hands before touching around your eye, and avoid rubbing, pressing or bumping the operative eye.
- How can I clean my lashes after surgery? You can moisten a cotton ball with Saline solution to gently remove any crusting on your lashes.
How long does pterygium take to heal?
The graft sticks to the conjunctiva within 24 to 48 hours during this time of patch is applied. There may be accompanying redness and some irregularity which takes a few weeks to a month to heal.
Will pterygium come back after surgery?
it will not come back after surgery If all the proper steps are followed. These include meticulous surgical techniques with glued, Slow tapering of drops and lubricant eye ointments, management of dryness before and after surgery.
What are the side effects of pterygium surgery?
The most common side effect is redness and irritation. Sometimes there can be occasional pain. Swelling irregularity may occur as healing is occurring. The corneal haze might persist. The worst-case scenario is due to rubbing or poor surgical attachment the graft may be lost.
How soon do the stitches dissolve after surgery?
Stitches are rarely used nowadays. But when they are used it would be surgeons’ preference to use different kind. Some may have to be removed within a week whereas others will slowly dissolve over weeks and months.
How long do you wear an eye patch after pterygium surgery?
It is recommended to wear an ice shield at bedtime for three to five days after surgery to prevent rubbing of the eye accidentally and dislodging the graft. During daytime sunglasses are recommended to protect from the sun and avoid accidental rubbing.
When was pterygium discovered?
The first recorded case of Pterygium was approximately 2000 years ago. A Greek physician Galen is credited with this documentation.
What is pterygium syndrome?
This is a rare disease involving problems in joints and multiple Pterygium.
Can pterygium stop growing or disappear?
Pterygium can stop growing or even disappear on its own, but this is uncommon.
Does pterygium surgery affect vision?
Immediately after the surgery there might be discomfort and some vision changes. The vision will improve in a few days to weeks. The outcome is usually even better than the vision before the surgery.
is pterygium dangerous?
Pterygium Can be dangerous when it covers the entire cornea leading to blindness. It might be difficult to do surgery and good vision back in these types of situations.
What is the difference between pterygium and cataracts?
Pterygium and cataracts are two different eye conditions. Pterygium is a growth of tissue on the conjunctiva and cornea, while cataracts are a clouding of the eye’s natural lens that can cause vision loss. In simpler terms it means the Pterygium is a growth on the surface of the eye whereas cataract occurs in the deeper layers.
Both conditions Can cause distortion and vision leading to preventable blindness. Both can be treated with surgery, but they are not the same. With Pterygium surface surgery is done in a clean suite, whereas cataract surgery since it’s inside the eye requires a certified surgical center.