What is pterygium
Pterygium (say: tair-idj-ee-um) is an abnormal growth of tissue over the white part of the eye usually starting from the inner corner and extending towards the middle. These growths can develop in one or both eyes.
While genetics play a role, the exact cause of pterygium is unknown. It is, however, more common in people who spend a lot of time outdoors in bright sunlight or strong wind. For this reason is it sometimes called ‘surfers eye’.
The condition involves a deterioration of collagen on the eye surface and then the growth of other kinds of tissues in its place. The condition can be progressive and, while be unobtrusive at first, a pterygium can become painful and large enough to interfere with vision.
As advanced cases are highly noticeable and distinctive, pterygium is among the earliest eye conditions recorded in history.