Alan D. Mendelsohn, MD, FACS
Expert Laser Cataract Surgeon
Eye Surgeons & Consultants
4651 Sheridan Street,
Hollywood, FL 33021
A pinguecula is a yellowish, slightly raised lesion that forms on the surface tissue of the white part of the eye, close to the edge of the cornea. It is caused by UV light exposure without adequate protection from sunglasses. Unfortunately, over 95% of sunglasses, including designer styles, have only tinting and actually offer zero or negligible protection. We highly recommend, and personally wear sunglasses with UV-400 blocker and polarization on the front and back surfaces for maximal protection. For those who require an eyeglass prescription sunglasses can also be purchased with a distance Rx or progressive lens Rx.
Since the level of UV exposure increases geometrically as one approaches the Equator, pingueculas are far more common in Floridians than those living in northern U.S. One can develop pingueculas from outdoor sports, practices, and other activities after school or work and throughout the weekend under the beautiful sunny skies of Florida. Most people with pingueculas have dry eye symptoms, a mild foreign body sensation, occasional irritation, and their eyes are usually red, at times to a very noticeable extent.
Without the correct sunglass protection, pingueculas will continue to grow and eventually cover the corneal surface, now referred to as pterygium. They form a wedge or wing-shaped growth of benign fibrous tissue with blood vessels overlying and within the growths. With correct sunglass protection, again, consisting of UV-400 blocker and polarization on both lens surfaces, the pterygium almost always will stop growing. Drs Mendelsohn and Klein will closely monitor and document the extent of growth. However, without the sunglass protection, they continue to grow and can interfere with vision, especially when they begin to encroach on the pupil. The development and progression of a pterygium is very much preventable. Once pterygiums have developed, they will not regress with sunglasses.