Pterygium Tips – Protection, Assessment, Treatment

Commonly referred to as ‘Surfer’s Eye’, a Pterygium is a growth or wing of tissue that develops on the cornea (the eye’s outermost transparent layer). The good news is this particular condition is non-cancerous and can be lived with in most cases. In this article, we have listed our top Pterygium Tips to protect your eyes and to catch it early.

Pterygium is a common eye condition for people who spend a lot of time outdoors. This is largely thought to be a result of UV exposure, dust and wind. Even though its often called Surfers Eye, you don’t have to be a surfer to get it!

Who can get it?

Generally, the condition affects people between the ages of 20 and 40, but it has been known to present in teenagers as well. The occurrence is much greater in people who live closer to the equator, in sunny climates.


  • Itching or burning
  • Blurred vision
  • Reddish tissue growing over the coloured part of your eye
  • The ongoing sensation that something is in your eye
  • Some patients may have no symptoms.

Top Pterygium Tips

  • Protect your eyes constantly – always wear sunglasses and a hat, and try to stay out of the sun wherever possible
  • Talk to your ophthalmologist about getting a prescription for an ophthalmic lubricant or eye drops
  • Keep an eye on the Pterygium by doing a self-check in the mirror regularly
  • Get a check-up with your eye care professional every 12 months.

How do you treat it?

Small Pterygiums can generally be self-treated by wearing UV protection, sunglasses for example, and using lubricant eye drops. Larger Pterygiums that cause irritation or show accelerated growth can be removed surgically.

Ask your GP or optometrist to give you a referral to an ophthalmologist if you feel your Pterygium is affecting your vision.