Is a Pinguecula?
A pinguecula is a benign, or noncancerous, growth that
develops on your eye. These growths are called pingueculae when there are more
than one of them. It grows on the conjunctiva, which is the thin layer of
tissue that covers the white part of your eye. Pingueculae can occur at any
age, but they’re mainly found in middle-aged and elderly people. These growths
rarely need to be removed, and no treatment is necessary in most cases.
Does a Pinguecula Look Like?
A pinguecula is yellowish in color and typically has a
triangular shape. It’s a small raised patch that grows close to your cornea.
Your cornea is the transparent layer that lies over your pupil and iris. Your
iris is the colored part of your eye. Pingueculae are more common on the side
of your cornea closer to your nose, but they can also grow next to your cornea
on the other side. Some pingueculae can grow larger, but this occurs at a very
slow rate and is rare.
A pinguecula forms when the tissue in your conjunctiva
changes and creates a small bump. Some of these bumps contain protein, fat, and
calcium, while others contain protein and either fat or calcium. The reason for
this change isn’t fully understood, but it’s been linked to frequent exposure
to sunlight, dust, or wind. Pingueculae also tend to become more common as people
of a Pinguecula
A pinguecula can make your eye feel irritated or dry. It can
also make you feel like you have something in your eye. Or you might have a
gritty feeling as though you had sand or other rough particles in your eye. The
affected eye might also itch or become red and inflamed. These symptoms caused
by pingueculae can be mild or severe. Your optometrist, or eye doctor, should
be able to diagnose this condition based on the pinguecula’s appearance and
Pingueculae and Pterygia
Pingueculae and pterygia are types of growths that can form
on your eye. The singular term for pterygia is pterygium. They share a few
similarities, but there are also notable differences between these two
Pingueculae and pterygia are both benign and grow near the
cornea. They’re both linked to exposure to the sun, wind, and other harsh
However, pterygia don’t look like pingueculae. Pterygia have
a flesh-colored appearance and are round, oval, or elongated. Pterygia are more
likely to grow over the cornea than pingueculae. A pinguecula that grows onto
the cornea is known as a pterygium.
Is a Pinguecula Treated?
You usually don’t need any type of treatment for a
pinguecula unless it causes discomfort. If your eye does hurt, your doctor can
give you eye ointment or eye drops to relieve redness and irritation.
You can talk to your doctor about having the pinguecula
surgically removed if its appearance bothers you. In some cases, a pinguecula
might need to be removed. Surgery is considered when a pinguecula:
- grows over your cornea, since this can affect
- causes extreme discomfort when you try to wear
- is constantly and severely inflamed, even after
you apply eye drops or ointments
Is the Long-Term Outlook?
A pinguecula usually doesn’t cause any problems. Surgery
typically doesn’t lead to complications, although pingueculae can grow back
afterward. Your doctor might give you medication or use surface radiation to
help prevent this.
You Prevent Pingueculae from Developing?
If you spend a lot of time outdoors due to work or hobbies,
you’re more likely to develop pingueculae. However, you can help prevent these
growths by wearing sunglasses when you’re outside. Ideally, you should wear
sunglasses that have a coating that blocks the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet
B (UVB) rays. Sunglasses also help protect your eyes from wind and other
outdoor elements, such as sand. Keeping your eyes moisturized with artificial
tears might also help prevent pingueculae. You should also wear protective
eyewear when working in a dry and dusty environment.