What Is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy, noncancerous growth that grows on the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that covers the eye. It often starts on the white of the eye in the corner near the tear duct and grows toward the cornea, which covers the pupil and the iris (the colored part of the eye).

Pterygia (plural of pterygium) can be raised, pink and contain blood vessels. They can occur in one eye or in both. They aren’t harmful unless they cover the pupil and interfere with vision.

Pterygium is also called “surfer’s eye” because it often affects people who spend a lot of time in the sun and wind.