Corneal tumors: pinguecula and pterygium

Corneal tumors: pinguecula and pterygium

The eyes constitute the fundamental organ of one of the most important senses: sight. Therefore, it is convenient to pay attention to any anomaly. In this sense, there are two fairly frequent corneal tumors or ocular affections; the pinguecula and the pterygium, and this topic we will talk about this time.

Both conditions are the result of the degeneration of the conjunctiva. The pinguecula appears as a small lentil or button in the white area of ​​the eye (sclera), sometimes imperceptible. On the other hand, pterygium is the result of an abnormal growth of the conjunctiva, due to an inflammatory process.

Although the size of the pinguecula is usually insignificant, it may increase over time. In most cases, its volume does not directly affect vision. In fact, some people may present more than one without being awareKeep reading to find out what are the most common causes of the pinguecula, its symptoms, treatments and their differences with the pterygium.

What are the causes of the pinguecula?

According to the specialists of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, among the causes of the pinguecula are:

  • Exposure to dust and wind
  • Overexposure to ultraviolet light
  • Body fat
  • Dry eye syndrome
  • Hormonal changes
  • Consumption of some medications

Symptoms of the pinguecula

  • Itching of the eye or redness of the eyeball, especially near the cornea, pupil and iris
  • Eye dryness
  • Irritation of the affected area
  • Constant inflammation
  • Foreign body sensation

¿ How pinguecula treated?

This condition does not usually require treatment. If it gives rise to bothersome symptoms, the ophthalmologist may recommend the use of lubricating drops. However, in severe cases in which this injury directly affects the sight or gives rise to symptoms that do not disappear with the use of lubricating drops, surgical treatment may be resorted to.

Among these cases, there is a very severe inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye, which gives rise to redness and constant itching. It should be noted that the surgery used is ambulatory, with local anesthesia, and it does not take too long. However, any surgical intervention carries certain risks, so it will always be the last option. 

After surgery, the patient should wear a patch of maximum protection for two days, unless the specialist recommends otherwise.

Differences between the pinguecula and the pterygium 

Although both conditions are the result of anomalous conjunctival processes, we speak of two different conditions. The pterygium consists of an ocular anomaly that manifests itself through the formation of a fleshiness in the eyes  of a color similar to that of the skin, different from the yellowish color of the pinguecula.

Nor are they located in the same place. The pterygium usually develops from one end of the conjunctiva to the cornea, while the pinguecula usually appears directly on the sclera and rarely affects the cornea. Also, if the pterygons reach a considerable size, they can alter the surface of the eye and give rise to visual problems.

Similarities between the pinguecula and the pterygium

The first resemblance, as we have been discussing throughout the article, is that both conditions are the result of an anomaly of the conjunctiva, a thin layer of connective tissue that lines the eyeball. Both conditions, in the beginning, give rise to similar symptoms, so it is not uncommon for them to get confused.

Given these conditions, specialists recommend taking preventive measures, especially avoiding its most direct cause, exposure to ultraviolet rays. This is achieved by not using any type of sunglasses, but those that have a filter against UV rays.

Another important factor that triggers both conditions is age. In fact, they are much more frequent in people over 40 years of age.Routine eye exams will detect this and other ocular problems of greater severity in time.

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