Surfer’s eye is also known as pterygium. It is a condition that manifests in the form of a pink, fleshy growth on the eyeball. It usually forms in the corner of the eye and extends towards the pupil afterwards. If severe, it can extend to the cornea and the pupil and cause blurred vision.
Although Surfer’s eye looks scary, it’s completely benign and treatable. It can be treated by the removal of pterygia which requires only 30 to 45 minutes of surgery for removal.
In some cases, the development of pterygium might go unnoticed until it is small in size. The patient may feel irritation, itchiness, or a burning sensation accompanied by redness or blurred vision. A thick or large pterygium can make it feel like the presence of a foreign object stuck in the eye.
Before developing the condition full-fledged, you may notice the presence of a pinguecula. It is a small, bump which forms on the eye. These bumps are non-cancerous and consist of fat, calcium, or protein deposits. They often indicate the onslaught of the surfer’s eye.
It is recommended that you consult an eye doctor as soon as you experience any itchiness, irritation, and growth on the eyes’ surface. Both pinguecula and surfer’s eye are treatable conditions but one should get the treatment done as soon as possible as they can lead to discomfort and vision problems afterward.So make an appointment with an eye hospital as soon as you see these symptoms.
Some common causes of pterygium are as follows:
Extensive exposure to ultra-violet light: People, who spend a lot of time outdoors, are at high risk for developing surfer’s eye.
History of dry eyes: If you have a history of having dry eyes, you may be prone to developing a surfer’s eye.
Exposure to irritants: If you are continuously exposed to dust, sand, and wind, then you have more chances of getting the surfer’s eye symptoms.
Your family history: If you have a family history of pterygium, then you have high chances of developing the condition.
A person of any age, sex, and geographic location can develop surfer’s eye, but these factors contribute to raising your chances of getting it.
People below 40 are quite likely to develop pterygium. People over 40 are more prone to developing pterygia or multiple growths.
Men have double chances of developing a surfer’s eye than women.
People living near the equator get exposed to strong ultra-violet light radiation; they are highly likely to develop the condition. They have a 5 to 15 per cent chance of getting affected by it. People in the US have a low prevalence rate (less than 2 per cent).