Causes and Diagnoses

Causes and Diagnoses of a Pterygium

The exact cause of pterygia is unknown, but researchers do know that it is associated with exposure to ultraviolet light from the sun, chronic dry eye, and things that can irritate your eyes, such as wind and dust. 

There is also a genetic component to pterygia. If someone in your family has one, you are more likely to develop one. 

Preventing a pterygium

If you work or play outside in a sunny climate, you can take precautions to prevent the development of pterygia:

  • Wear quality sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays
  • Wear a brimmed hat
  • Take drops to flush irritants from your eyes
  • Talk to your physician about treatments for chronic dry eye

Diagnosing pterygia

Your physician can diagnose a pterygium with a simple eye exam. Rarely, a biopsy of the pterygium will be taken to check for cancer.