Growth on the White of the Eye (Conjunctiva)

What is a growth on the conjunctiva?

The conjunctiva is the clear membrane that lines the inside of your eyelids and covers the white of your eye. There are two kinds of growths:

A pingueculum is a small bump on the white of your eye, usually on the side closest to your nose. The bump may be clear or yellowish.

A pterygium is a small bump that has tiny blood vessels in it. This growth can get bigger and cover part of your cornea, which is the clear outer layer on the front of your eye.

What is the cause?

These growths may be caused by:

  • Wind or dust
  • Damaging chemicals
  • Ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun

They are more common in people who spend a lot of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates.

What are the symptoms?

Most commonly there are no symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they may include:

  • Eye redness, itching or burning
  • Dry, gritty eyes or watery eyes
  • Blurry vision

How is it diagnosed?

These growths are often found during a routine eye exam. No special tests are needed.

How is it treated?

If these growths do not cause any problems, they do not need to be treated. If they cause redness or irritation, you can use eyedrops called artificial tears. You can buy these products without a prescription.

A pterygium may grow and change the shape of your cornea, which can cause blurry vision. It can block light entering your eye. A pterygium that causes vision problems can be removed with surgery.

The growth will not go away on its own. Sometimes it will come back even after surgery.

How can I take care of myself?

Follow the full course of treatment your healthcare provider prescribes. Ask your healthcare provider:

  • How and when you will hear your test results
  • How long it will take to recover
  • What activities you should avoid and when you can return to your normal activities
  • How to take care of yourself at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if you have them

Make sure you know when you should come back for a checkup.

How can I help prevent growths on the conjunctiva?

Growths on the conjunctiva happen more often in sunny and windy areas. Wear sunglasses outdoors to help decrease the chance of developing these growths. It may also help to use artificial tears to prevent dry eyes.

Reviewed for medical accuracy by faculty at the Wilmer Eye Institute at Johns Hopkins. Web site: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/wilmer/

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Copyright ©2014 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.

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