What is a Pinguecula?
A Pinguecula is a non-cancerous yellowish growth on the conjunctiva of the eye which covers over the white part of the eye (sclera). It is most commonly located on the nasal side of the eye at 3:00 or 9:00. It can occur on one or both sides of the eye near the cornea, where that part of the eye is exposed to the sun (ultraviolet light) and environment.
These yellowish fleshy elevations are usually caused by exposure to sunlight, dry eyes, allergies, and dirty environments. They are more common as you get towards the equator and environments that are dusty and dry. Pinguecula are more common in farmers, commercial fisherman, tennis pros, and other outside workers.
Symptoms are usually mild and include stinging, burning, and irritation. They can become inflamed at times with irritation and redness. They can grow and increase in size and elevation.
The prognosis is excellent as these are benign growths.
Usually all that is needed is to protect the eye by wearing sunglasses (wrap around sunglasses may be better as they also help keep the wind off the eye). Artificial tears are used to keep the eye comfortable. Surgery is virtually never indicated. The growths tend to come back after removal. Eye drop medications can be prescribed, if they become irritated and inflamed. The inflammation usually resolves in a few days.