Pinguecula is a non-cancerous bump on the eyeball that usually occurs on top of the middle part of the sclera. It’s a yellowish and slightly raised thickening on the white part of the eye. Today, our optometrist from Northern Virginia Doctors of Optometry discusses pinguecula and explains its causes, symptoms and treatment options:
Frequent exposure to dust and wind is a risk factor for the development of pinguecula, but the primary cause is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. Dry eye disease can also contribute to the growth of pinguecula. This condition is more common in middle-aged or older people who spend a lot of the time exposed in the sun, but younger people and children can still develop it. To decrease the risk of developing pinguecula, wear sunglasses outdoors even on overcast days.
Pinguecula typically doesn’t cause symptoms for many people. When symptoms do occur, it is usually because of a disruption of the tear film. Pinguecula may cause an uneven spreading of natural tear film across the eye’s surface. This can lead to dry eye symptoms, including itching, blurred vision and stinging. Pinguecula can also cause the appearance of extra blood vessels in the conjunctiva, leading to red eyes. It can also become inflamed and swollen. This is known as pingueculitis. We suggest scheduling a regular eye exam each year to catch eye problems like pinguecula as early as possible.
Treatment Options and Management
The treatment for pinguecula depends on the severity of the symptoms. If it causes dry eye irritation, then your doctor might prescribe lubricating eye drops. They might also prescribe scleral contact lenses to cover the growth and protect it from dryness. To treat any localized inflammation and swelling, they might also prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or steroid eye drops. If the pinguecula are especially uncomfortable, surgery can be an option.
In addition to helping patients with the treatment and management of eye diseases, we also offer high-quality contact lenses and glasses, and we conduct comprehensive eye exams. We have provided professional and personalized eye care to local patients for over 40 years. To learn more about our services, call us at (703) 660-9494 if you are in Alexandria, (703) 413-1400 if you are in Arlington, (703) 573-1200 if you are in Falls Church and (703) 467-9080 if you are in Reston. You may also request an appointment here.