Your Eyes - Sept/Oct 2002
Sun Exposure Can Cause Eye Infections
Do you spend much time outdoors? Excess exposure to salt
water spray, wind, dust and the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can lead to the
condition called pinguecula or calloused eyes.
Pinguecula frequently occurs from damage to the conjunctiva, the thin
membrane lining the lid and covering the white of the eye.
The condition occurs more often in adults as they age.
Males develop pinguecula approximately three times more often than
In pinguecula, the conjunctiva is replaced by a raised, thick and yellowish patch or bump normally in the corner of the nasal side of the eye. Sometimes a pinguecula develops into a pterygium, or conjunctival thickening that may irritate the blood vessels. A pterygium often grows over the cornea and affects the vision.
Some individuals with pinguecula feel as if they have
something in their eye. Others have
no symptom but dry eyes. Usually
lubricating eye drops can restore the conjunctiva. A serious pterygium may have to be removed surgically,
although chances of a reoccurrence run high.
Eye care specialists strongly recommend that individuals who spend
significant time outdoors wear hats and sunglasses with ultraviolet protection.
The glasses also keep out most other irritants.
Call for an appointment with your eye care specialist if you notice any
change in the whites of your eyes.
Dr. Thomas K. Smith