When a pterygium becomes red and irritated, eyedrops or ointments may be used to help reduce the inflammation. If the pterygium is large enough to threaten sight or grows rapidly, it can be removed surgically. A pterygium may also cause decreased vision by causing astigmatism. It is therefore advisable to follow up on medium to large sized pterygia at least yearly and include a refraction.
Despite proper surgical removal, the pterygium may return, particularly in young people. Protecting the eyes from excessive ultraviolet light with proper sunglasses and avoiding dry, dusty conditions and use of artificial tears may also help.
A Pinguecula is a yellowish patch or bump on the white of the eye, most often on the side closest to the nose. It is not a tumor, but an alteration of normal tissue resulting in a deposit of protein and fat. Unlike a pterygium, a pinguecula does not actually grow onto the cornea. A pinguecula may also be a response to chronic eye irritation or sunlight.
No treatment is necessary unless it becomes inflamed. A pinguecula does not grow onto the cornea or threaten sight. If particularly annoying, a pinguecula may on rare occasions be surgically removed, but the postoperative scar may be as cosmetically objectionable as the pinguecula.