A pterygium is a raised, triangular or wedge-shaped, benign growth of conjunctiva tissue.
The conjunctiva is the mucus membrane that covers the front of your eye. It usually occurs on the side of your eye nearest your nose. It can grow over the cornea (the transparent dome at the front of your eyeball) in a triangular fashion. It may grow large enough to affect your vision (eyesight).
A pterygium usually develops if you have been living in a hot, dry climate. This may be a response to;
- your eye’s long-term exposure to sunlight and
- chronic eye irritation from the dry climate.
- Tearing (eyes watering)
As the pterygium develops it may alter the shape of the cornea, making it curve more. This causes astigmatism, which affects how your eye focuses. When the pterygium has grown towards the centre of your cornea it will affect your vision.
The ophthalmologist (eye doctor) or optometrist will be able to see the pterygium, just by looking at your eye.