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What Is Pinguecula and How Can It Be Prevented?

Jan 18, 2023

Eye treatment

pinguecula-treatment pinguecula-treatment

Pinguecula is a noncancerous, yellow-colored growth containing protein, fat, and calcium that develops on the white part of your eye (conjunctiva). While pinguecula may occur in one or both eyes at any age, it is common among middle-aged and older people. Pinguecula generally does not affect the vision, but in some cases, it can impact the tears that protect the eye, causing redness, inflammation, and dryness. Being benign, treatment is rarely required for pinguecula.  

Read on to learn when pinguecula needs to be treated and how it can be prevented.

What Causes Pinguecula?

A pinguecula forms when the thin layer of tissue in your conjunctiva changes due to:

  • Long-term exposure to sun, wind, sand, or dust
  • Age
  • Eye trauma

What Are the Symptoms of Pinguecula?

Common symptoms of pinguecula are:

  • Dry eye
  • A triangular-shaped yellow spot or bump on the eye
  • Difficulty using contact lenses
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching or burning sensation
  • A feeling like grit or sand in your eyes
  • Redness or irritation
  • Swollen eyes

How Is Pinguecula Diagnosed?

Your ophthalmologist will perform the following procedures to diagnose pinguecula:

Physical Examination

It includes examining your eye using a slit lamp that contains a light and microscope, giving the ophthalmologist a better and clear view. This exam helps to differentiate a pinguecula from a pterygium (surfer’s eye), both of which have some similar symptoms.

A pterygium also begins as a small growth on the white part of your eye, but it can get bigger to reach the cornea, affecting your vision.

Conjunctival Biopsy

A sample of your conjunctival tissue will be taken for laboratory analysis to determine any other causes that look similar to pinguecula, including:

  • Nodular scleritis (inflammation)
  • Conjunctival malignant melanoma (a rare cancerous tumor)
  • Conjunctival foreign body (an object stuck in the eye)

Pinguecula Treatment Options

A pinguecula that is small and barely noticeable is usually not a cause for concern and does not require treatment. However, it can be large enough to cause pain, swelling, and other symptoms, and in such circumstances, treatment is necessary to minimize the feeling of annoyance and discomfort.

Depending on the severity and symptoms of your pinguecula, your ophthalmologist may recommend any of the following treatment options:

Eye Drops

Applying a few drops to the affected eye can lubricate it while minimizing irritation and the feeling of the presence of a foreign body in the eye.

Prescription Eye Drops or Drugs

Your doctor may prescribe a short course of steroidal eye drops or topical, non-steroid anti-inflammatory ointments to treat redness and swelling in the eye.

Cold Compress

It involves placing a wet cloth on the affected eye for up to 20 minutes every two hours to reduce inflammation.

Surgery

Surgery may be required to remove pinguecula if:

  • It grows on your cornea, as it can impact your vision.
  • The resulting inflammation does not subside even after applying ointments or eye drops.
  • It makes wearing contact lenses difficult and uncomfortable.  

How to Prevent Pinguecula

As long-term exposure to outside elements remains a major risk factor, protecting your eyes from such things can help prevent pinguecula.

Tips to protect your eyes:

  • Wear wraparound sunglasses if you will be spending more time outdoors. These glasses block 99% of UV rays, thus protecting your eyes. Also, wear a wide-brimmed hat that keeps sun rays off the eyes and face. Ensure to wear these even on cloudy days.
  • Keep your eyes moist with eye drops or artificial tears.
  • Avoid exposure to artificial UV light, such as a tanning bed.
  • Wear protective eye gear or goggles when working in a dirty or dusty environment.

Though pinguecula is a harmless condition, you must visit an ophthalmologist as soon as you notice any changes in your eyes, like swelling, redness, excessive tears, etc. This will help your eye doctor determine whether it is pinguecula or other condition that requires immediate medical attention.

Contact Remagin for Pinguecula Treatment near You

At Remagin, we offer best-in-class pinguecula treatment to people across Windermere, Orlando, and other surrounding communities of Florida. So, whether you want to treat pinguecula for protecting your eye health or for cosmetic reasons, we can help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our ophthalmologists for pinguecula eye treatment.  

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