Pterygium: Symptoms and Causes



What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a raised, triangular or wedge-shaped, harmless growth of tissue on the white of the eye (sclera). It usually occurs on the side of your eye nearest your nose.

A pterygium can continue to grow over the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye) in a
triangular fashion. It may grow large enough to affect your vision (eyesight).

What causes a Pterygium?

A pterygium usually develops if you have been living in a hot, dry climate.

It is thought to be a response to long-term sunlight exposure and chronic irritation from the dry climate.


What are the symptoms of a pterygium?

A pterygium can cause grittiness, itchiness, burning, irritation, redness and tearing.

As it grows, it may alter the shape of the cornea resulting in astigmatism which can alter your eye’s focus.

If the pterygium continues to grow towards the centre of the cornea it can affect your vision.

How is pterygium treated?

Treatment depends on the symptoms.

If the pterygium is small and/or growing, eye drops may be used to relieve any redness or irritation.

Surgical removal of a pterygium is performed if:

– There is persistent or recurrent redness or irritation despite using drops
– It alters the shape of the cornea and/or affects vision
– It is cosmetically unappealing

To learn more about pterygium surgery, visit our Pterygium Treatment page.

Book an appointment

During your consultation, we will provide a complete assessment of your eye, including the extent of the pterygium.

You may also have scans done to determine the depth of the pterygium and its effect on the shape of your eyeball. Depending on the results of the assessment, Mr Ayoub will discuss the best treatment option for you.

Book a consultation today to discuss the symptoms you are experiencing and receive testing for a pterygium.

Contact us

    A pterygium is a triangular, pink growth. It develops on the white of the eye and extends to the cornea. The cornea is the clear layer at the front of your eye that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.

    No, a pterygium is not contagious and is non-cancerous. It is not a viral infection, so it cannot be spread from person to person.

    Both a pterygium and a pinguecula are conjunctival growths on the white of your eye. A pterygium is a wedge-shaped, pink growth, whereas a pinguecula is a yellow or white raised bump. 

    Unlike a pterygium, a pinguecula does not grow over the cornea. A pinguecula will also rarely need surgery, as it won’t impact your vision in the way that a pterygium might.

    A pterygium doesn’t usually cause pain, though it can cause visual problems if it extends to the cornea, which can lead to headaches. Headaches related to your eye health are usually due to eye strain.

    Protect your eyes from direct and indirect ultraviolet (UV) radiation. If you are going to be in the sun, wear UV-protecting sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

0330 128 1616

Our clinic sites are regulated by
The Care Quality Commission (CQC)

Book consultation

Affiliations and Memberships

We are proud to be associated with the following organisations

Facebook Twitter Youtube Quote Linkedin instagram left-arrow up-arrow right-arrow down-arrow