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Pterygium: Surfer’s Eye

Pterygium is a noncancerous growth that looks like a raised white/pink tissue on the white of one or both eyes. It is often called surfer’s eye because it tends to affect people who often work or play outdoors, especially surfers.

While not typically a serious condition, pterygium can continue to grow until it covers the cornea, leading to distortion of the cornea (astigmatism) and blurred vision.

Surfer’s Eye Symptoms

  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Burning
  • Itching
  • Feeling of something foreign in the eye

Causes of Surfer’s Eye

Pterygium tends to affect people age 20 to 40 and it is more common in men. There is no single cause of pterygium; however, there are certain conditions that may increase your risk: 

  • Excessive exposure to UV light (being outdoors)
  • Exposure to dust, wind, sand and other irritants
  • Dry eye
  • Not wearing sunglasses or hats outdoors
  • Low humidity environments

Surfer’s Eye Treatment

Medicated or lubricating eye drops can help ease irritation caused by pterygium. If the lesion begins to threaten your sight or makes you feel self-conscious, pterygium surgery to remove the growth may be recommended. To reduce the risk of recurrence, our pterygium doctors in Southeast Idaho may perform an amniotic membrane transplant (AMT) graft where the former pterygium was located.  To learn more about surfer’s eye in Idaho Falls, or if you are experiencing the symptoms of surfer’s eye, contact us today to schedule an eye exam.

Idaho Falls

2025 East 17th Street,
Idaho Falls, ID 83404

Pocatello

1157 Call Place,
Pocatello, ID 83201

Rexburg

491 First American Circle,
Rexburg, ID 83440

Twin Falls

706 N College RD Ste C,
Twin Falls, ID 83301