Pterygium vs Pingueculae
A pterygium is a raised, cream colored growth usually on the nasal side of the white of the eye. It sometimes gets yellowish or reddish. Before the growth extends onto the cornea it's called a pingueculae. When it extends onto the cornea it's called a pterygium.
Vitamins & Supplements
Although they can be removed surgically, the rate of recurrence is as high as 40%, and they tend to come back bigger and faster.
These growths are usually caused by dry, hot, windy environments, and are found often on people that spend a lot of time outside. A Ptergium is not dangerous and it is not cancer, but can become uncomfortable. The main problem is that they can eventually distort vision due to the fact that they can grow onto the cornea, and eventually even onto the central part of the eye blocking light from entering.
Raised, cream colored growth usually on the nasal side of the white of the eye.
Sun and wind.There is a higher rate in people living near the equator. In the United States, the incidence is less than 2%. In Florida and California, the incidence to close to 4%. By the equator, the incidence goes up to 20%. The condition is sometimes called surfer's eye since it is more common in people exposed to wind and the UV radiation of the sun.
Meibomian Gland Misfunction. New research explores a possible missing link between dry eye and pterygium: malfunctioning meibomian glands. Scientists found corrrelation between degree of meibomian gland structure problems and severity of pterygium incidence. The meibomian glands produce an oily substance called meibum which spreads thinly over the surface of the eye helping to protect the tear film. When such production is insufficient then not only does dry eye syndrome result, but there is apparently greater risk for pterygium development.2
Dry eyes. There is correlation between how fast the tear film protecting the cornea breaks up, and how concentrated the tear film is.3
If the pterygium is interfering with your vision, then typically it is removed surgically. Otherwise, it is left alone. The rate of recurrence is as high as 40%, and they tend to come back bigger and faster.
Complementary Treatment and Self Help
New research indicates the potential for curcumin in inhibiting pterygium growth. Scientists incubated pterygium cells with curcumin (the principal component of turmeric) and found that growth was significantly inhibited.1
Ophthalmic lubricants without mercury compounds or anticholinergics and MSM eyedrops can be helpful. These eyedrops help soften the membranes, allowing fluids to pass through the outer layer of the tissues. When tissue membranes become permeable, nutrition is able to penetrate through the outer layer and provide the nutrients needed for the body to try to manage the pterygium growth.
In addition, these eyedrops equalize pressures, repair damaged membranes, clear up red spots and broken vessels, and help remove blemishes and other tissue particles.
While MSM eyedrops can be specifically helpful, the following are general points which are more generally very important for your vision.
- Protect your vision from damaging UV radiation with good quality 100% UVA/UVB protecting wraparound sunglasses. Amber or brown are the best colored lenses for protecting the eyes, and the lenses should be polarized as well to reduce glare.
- Supplementation with nutrients and eyedrops that have been found to be helpful to protect vision.
- Diet & lifestyle recommendations - see our protocol for healthy vision for more information.
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1. C.W. Lu, J.L. Hao, et al, Efficacy of curcumin in inducing apoptosis and inhibiting the expression of VEGF in human pterygium fibroblasts,
International Journal of Molecular Medicine, April, 2017.
2. H. Wu, Z. Lin, et al, Meibomian Gland Dysfunction Correlates to the Tear Film Instability and Ocular Discomfort in Patients with Pterygium, Scientific Reports, March, 2017.
3. M. Ozsutcu, et al, Tear osmolarity and tear film parameters in patients with unilateral pterygium, Cornea, November, 2014.