A pinguecula is a yellowish growth that forms on the conjunctiva usually on either side of the cornea. Pingueculae are thought to be caused by exposure to ultra-violet radiation, wind and dust, and are common among people who spend a considerable amount of time outdoors, particularly in very sunny environments.


A pterygium is an abnormal wedge-shaped growth on the cornea of the eye. This elevated growth is the result of an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva grows onto the cornea. It is not a cancer. The exact reason pterygia occur is not completely understood. However, long term exposure to ultraviolet sunlight and chronic irritation from dry conditions seem to contribute to their development. Pterygia are more common in people that live in tropical environments.

A pterygium is a pinkish, triangular-shaped tissue growth on the cornea. Some pterygia grow slowly throughout a person’s life, while others stop growing after a certain point. A pterygium rarely grows so large that it begins to cover the pupil of the eye.

Pterygia are more common in sunny climates and in the 20-40 age group. Scientists do not know what causes pterygia to develop. However, since people who have pterygia usually have spent a significant time outdoors, many doctors believe ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun may be a factor. In areas where sunlight is strong, wearing protective eyeglasses, sunglasses, and/or hats with brims are suggested. While some studies report a higher prevalence of pterygia in men than in women, this may reflect different rates of exposure to UV light.

Because a pterygium is visible, many people want to have it removed for cosmetic reasons. It is usually not too noticeable unless it becomes red and swollen from dust or air pollutants. Surgery to remove a pterygium is not recommended unless it affects vision. If a pterygium is surgically removed, it may grow back, particularly if the patient is less than 40 years of age. Lubricants can reduce the redness and provide relief from the chronic irritation.