Pterygium (pronounced ter-IJ-ee-um) is also called “surfer’s eye” or “eye web” and mainly affects people of all ages who spend a great deal of time outdoors in the sun. It is very common, with more than 3 million cases reported each year in the United States. Pterygium is a noncancerous triangular, wing-like growth on the conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that covers the white portion of the eye. It may cause irritation and affect your vision. The growth itself is painless.
In many cases, treatment for pterygium is unnecessary. But in more severe cases, Dr. Hickman will prescribe special eyedrops or a surgical removal procedure to restore normal vision. Surgery involves removal of the growth from the sclera and cornea of the eye. The best way to avoid this condition and surgery is to protect your eyes when you are outdoors and always wear sunglasses.