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Causes


Causes

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is the primary cause of pingueculae, and exposure to dust and wind are risk factors. A pinguecula is a yellowish, slightly raised thickening of the conjunctiva on the sclera (white part of the eye), close to the edge of the cornea (at 3 and 9 o’clock). Conjunctiva in this area has increased exposure to sunlight and wind since when we open our eyes, our eyelids cover only the upper and lower conjunctiva.


Symptoms

A common symptom of pinguecula is the appearance of extra blood vessels with yellowish and raised thickening of the conjunctiva. Sometimes people confuse pinguecula with eye tumor or cancer.


Other symptoms are not as clear or apparent. These include eye itchiness, irritation or reddening when in windy conditions or unhealthy air. When there is no inflammation, its tissues often lie flat with the white part of the eyes; pinguecula becomes difficult to detect. With inflammation, patients feel like there is something in their eyes.


Treatments

A pinguecula is not dangerous to your sight, since it is only limited to the white part of the eyes. Leaving it without treatment will not cause blindness or other diseases. You usually don’t need any type of treatment for a pinguecula unless it causes discomfort. However, treatments such as eye ointment or anti-inflammatory eyedrops are available to treat eye discomfort, redness, or irritation.


Preventions

1. Avoid being in an environment where air may blow directly into your eyes.

2. Wear sunglasses when outdoors. Sunglasses can help protect your eyes from wind and other outdoor elements.


If I have pinguecula, can I have a LASIK or ReLEx procedure?

The answer is yes, but this also depends on the symptoms and severity of pinguecula. You must be examined thoroughly and determined by a refractive surgeon whether or not you are able to undergo LASIK or ReLEx surgery.

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