Treating Pterygium (Surfer's Eye) - The Doctors - Assil Eye Los Angeles
How to Diagnose Surfer's Eye
Surfer’s eye (also known as pterygium) is a condition in which abnormal tissue grows over the eye, causing discomfort and threatening vision. The condition is named for surfers, who develop it at a higher rate than other groups because of their exposure to harsh conditions. Surfer's eye has only a few distinct symptoms. Fortunately, by looking for signs of surfer’s eye, consulting a doctor, and learning about the condition, you’ll be better able to diagnose surfer’s eye.
Identifying Signs of Surfer’s Eye
Notice a growth over the cornea of the eye.The single largest identifying mark of surfer’s eye is a growth of tissue over part of the eye. This tissue may cause discomfort and may be noticeable to the naked eye.
- The initial sign of surfer’s eye is the appearance of a yellowish growth, patch, or bump over the eye.
- The growth of tissue will usually appear on the side of the eye nearest your nose.
- The growth or lesion may also appear as pink, white, or even red.
Determine if your vision is obscured.Many people who suffer from surfer’s eye will wind up having the condition obscure or undermine their vision. Ultimately, any growth that limits your vision may be considered a symptom of surfer’s eye.
- The growth might appear as a small dot or imperfection in your vision.
- Your eyesight closest to your nose may be obscured.
- Your vision seems blurred.
- Anyone suffering from obscured vision should see a medical professional immediately.
Think about whether you experience discomfort.Surfer’s eye is associated with a variety of symptoms that cause general discomfort in the eye. Coupled with other symptoms, symptoms of discomfort are a good indication that you may suffer from surfer’s eye. Symptoms that are associated with discomfort include:
- A burning sensation
- The feeling of grit or sand in your eye.
Consulting a Medical Professional
See an ophthalmologist.An ophthalmologist is a medical professional that specializes in treating ailments of the human eye. If you suspect you have surfer’s eye, you should make an appointment with an ophthalmologist or have your primary care physician refer you to one. Upon seeing an ophthalmologist, they will:
- Ask you about your symptoms. When they ask, be sure to accurately describe them. For instance, say "I feel like there is permanently sand in my eye. It feels very gritty and makes it so I have to blink a lot."
- Make a vision examination of your eye.
- They may conduct a standard vision test.
Allow your doctor to view your eye with a slit-lamp.This device allows an eye doctor to take a close look at your eye. The use of a slit-lamp is necessary for diagnosing almost all cases of surfer’s eye.
- The doctor will examine your eye in very small sections.
- They will look for any abnormal tissue growth.
- The examination should last less than 30 minutes.
Have the doctor determine the severity of your surfer’s eye.Depending on the size of the abnormal tissue growth as well as your symptoms, your doctor will be able to come to a determination about the severity of your case. This is important, as depending on the severity, the doctor will prescribe different treatments.
- Many examples of surfer’s eye do not require treatment. You may only need treatment if your condition threatens your vision.
- Mild cases of surfer’s eye may only require eye drops or ointments. These drops are intended to ease pain, discomfort, and reduce inflammation.
- There is a chance that your doctor may refer you to another doctor or specialist to help them form a diagnosis. In addition, the doctor might recommend more diagnostics.
Treat the condition with eye drops.Your doctor's first step in treating your surfer's eye will be to prescribe eye drops. Depending on the eye drops, they may address both the condition and/or your symptoms.
- Your doctor may prescribe drops to lubricate your eyes. This will relieve the dryness or gritty feeling you are suffering.
- The doctor may prescribe you steroid drops. Steroid drops will relieve inflammation and may help reduce the size of the abnormal growth.
- Consult your doctor before using eye drops to treat your surfer's eye.
Have your physician surgically remove the abnormal growth.If eye drops don't work, your doctor may opt to surgically remove the pterygia. In most cases, this will restore your vision and eliminate symptoms.
- You will typically be able to return to normal duties within a couple of days after surgery.
- Your doctor might implant a medical device to contain the spread of abnormal growth in the future.
- You will have to wear an eye patch for a day or two after the surgery.
Learning About Surfer’s Eye
Educate yourself about the basics of the condition.Surfer’s eye refers to the growth of tissue on top of the cornea of the eye.
- Abnormal tissue is often known as "pinguecula" when it grows over the white of the eye and “pterygia” when it starts to extend over the cornea.
- Surfer’s eye is associated with people who spend a lot of time outside in dry or windy conditions.
Understand its dangers.Like many diseases, surfer’s eye manifests in different levels of severity. While some cases may be small enough to not merit immediate treatment, others can endanger your sight and require immediate action by medical professionals.
- Pterygia may be small enough so that it does not cause discomfort or interfere with normal vision.
- Pterygia sometimes grows to cause mild discomfort but may not threaten a person’s vision.
- In severe cases, pterygia causes substantial discomfort and threatens a person’s sight.
Think about the causes of surfer’s eye.Although medical professionals cannot explain exactly why surfer’s eye appears in some people and not others, they agree upon several contributing factors associated with the development of the condition. If you are frequently exposed to these conditions, start wearing sunglasses that block UV rays for protection.
- Long-term exposure to wind.
- Chronic irritation to the eyes caused by exposure to dry and dusty conditions.
- Long-term exposure to ultraviolet light. If you work outside in a sunny environment, you are at a higher risk of developing surfer’s eye.
Video: What is a pterygium? surfers Eye?
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