Plenty of areas across the country experience more than their fair share of bright and sunny days. That's part of the reason why holidaymakers continue to head to Australia, and it isn't exactly bad for natives either. However, such extensive exposure to UV light can cause health issues, and one of the lesser-known problems is pterygium, sometimes referred to as 'surfer's eye'. Here's a quick overview of everything you need to know.
What is pterygium?
A pterygium is a slightly elevated bump that develops on the eye. It starts on the white but can grow to cover the cornea. Pterygia will usually develop on the side of the eye that is closer to the nose, though this isn't a firm rule, and you can have them on both eyes are once.
What causes pterygium?
The exact causes of pterygia are unknown. However, it is largely thought that they result from prolonged exposure to the sun. Despite the name, you don't have to be a surfer to get one. However, they are thought to be more common if you are on the water a lot since the surface of the water will reflect the sun's UV rays. Having lighter skin and eyes may also put you at increased risk of developing a pterygium.
Are pterygia serious?
A pterygium isn't an extremely serious condition, but you should still visit a local eye doctor if you think that one might be developing. For starters, any kind of abnormal growth along the eye is something that you need to treat seriously; it could be that what you thought was a pterygium is actually something more serious.
Additionally, pterygia can cause a sensation of itching or burning. If a pterygium grows large enough, you might experience a constant feeling that something is in your eye. The growth can even start to cover the cornea. This will distort the vision, inflame your eye, and possibly make it impossible to wear contact lenses.
Finally, a pterygium that develops enough to have to be removed can often grow back, so it's best to have them treated while they are still mild.
How do you prevent pterygia?
The best thing to do is to take steps to ensure you don't develop any pterygium in the first place. Make sure you wear sunshades and a hat when you can. If you're a surfer, this can be slightly problematic, but it is impossible to pick up sunglasses specially-designed with surfers in mind. Wearing these can help reduce the risk of problems developing.
Welcome to my blog. My name is Matthew, and my blog focuses on everything related to optometry, with an emphasis on making the most of your vision consultations with your optometrists. Although I am not an optometrist, I have been involved in the industry for years as a glasses wearer. I hope that the facts, ideas and range of posts about optometry here help you, and if you share them, I hope they help your friends as well. When I'm not typing on a computer, I love to do woodworking, ski, read, follow politics and spend time with my family.