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Pinguecula and Pterygium

Pinguecula and pterygium are both fleshy growths on the front of the eye that most frequently occur due to exposure to ultraviolet light, as well as wind and dust. Pingueculae are located on the sclera, the white part of the eye, whereas pterygia extend onto the cornea. Both can cause ocular discomfort and progress because of ocular dryness and irritation. If pterygia grow far enough onto the cornea, they can affect vision and potentially result in vision loss. For this reason, surgery is considered in cases where a pterygium is approaching the central vision. Even after surgery, a pterygium can grow back. In order to increase ocular comfort and potentially reduce progression, sunglasses while outdoors are recommended.  Additionally, safety glasses when working in dusty, windy environments and artificial tears are recommended. Sometimes, topical ophthalmic steroids or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drops are prescribed to reduce inflammation if a pinguecula or pterygium becomes inflamed and artificial tears cannot sufficiently improve ocular comfort.

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