Pterygium is a common eye condition that usually affects people who spend a lot of time outdoors. It may appear as a growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the white part of the eye. It usually forms on the side closest to the nose.
Pterygium is non-cancerous, typically growing very slowly and can plateau without progression. However, sometimes it can continue to grow and lead to loss of vision by growing over the center of the eye. One or both eyes may be affected. Pterygium is typically not a serious condition but can cause significant ocular irritation including a burning sensation, a foreign-body feeling, and itching.
The main causes of pterygia include prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light, dust, and wind. This condition is more pronounced among people who live near the equator, but also may develop in anyone who lives in a sunny climate. It also occurs predominately in young adults between the ages of 20 and 40. Pterygia usually do not require treatment unless symptoms are pronounced. Treatment includes artificial tears and, occasionally, topical steroids for periods of exacerbation.
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