Effective Treatment to Relieve Irritation Caused by Pinguecula

A pinguecula is a small, benign growth that can develop on the eye. Our doctors can manage a pinguecula at our Austin, TX, office, usually with simple, non-invasive techniques. In most cases, a pinguecula will cause minor discomfort and is soothed with eye drops. In some more severe cases, we can surgically remove the growth to alleviate your discomfort as well as for cosmetic purposes. 

What is a Pinguecula?

A pinguecula is a fairly common, non-cancerous growth that forms on the conjunctiva, or white tissue near the cornea. It is a yellowish patch or bump, and typically forms on the inner side of the eye, near the nose. A pinguecula is caused by changes in your conjunctiva tissue. These changes have been linked to irritation caused by sun exposure, dust, and wind, and are more common as we age. These bumps or growths may contain a combination of protein, fat, or calcium, or a combination of the three. 

Signs and Symptoms

Unlike a pterygium, a pinguecula will appear as a small, yellowish bump or growth, and not a weblike layer of tissue and veins. Other symptoms can range from mild to severe and may include:

  • Eye irritation, or the sensation that you have something in your eye
  • Dryness
  • Itching, redness, and inflammation in the eye

Can a Pinguecula be Prevented?

Spending a significant amount of your time outdoors, either for work or for hobbies, can increase your risk of developing a pinguecula. To minimize your risk, Broberg Eye Center recommends wearing sunglasses that provide both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) protection. Sunglasses also offer some protection against other elements, such as wind and sand, dirt, and other particles that can get into your eyes and cause damage. If you work in an overly dry or dusty environment, wearing protective eyewear can help. Regular use of artificial tears can help keep your eyes moistened and reduce irritation as well.

If a pinguecula is near your cornea and there is danger that it could affect your vision in any way, or if it is causing you great discomfort, we can surgically remove the growth. 

Diagnosis and Treatment

Our doctors can typically diagnose a pinguecula through an eye exam alone. We may use a slit-lamp, which allows us to closely examine all the areas of your eye. This tool gives us the ability to spot abnormalities and determine the severity of the growth. The closer a pinguecula is to your cornea, the more potential there is for the growth to affect your vision.

For treatment of milder cases, we will usually recommend lubricating eye drops or ointments. We may also prescribe topical steroid eye drops for you to use in conjunction with these other drops or ointments. If a pinguecula is near your cornea and there is danger that it could affect your vision in any way, or if it is causing you great discomfort, we can surgically remove the growth. We can also remove the growth for cosmetic purposes, or if it affects your ability to wear contact lenses. The surgery is a simple, outpatient procedure, performed under local anesthetic.

Schedule Your Appointment

If you are experiencing any eye irritation and notice a yellow  spot, contact our office to schedule an appointment. We can determine the severity of your benign growth and discuss appropriate eye treatment with you.

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