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Key Features

  • Often bilateral

  • Pingueculae rarely grow but may become inflamed (pingueculitis)

  • Pterygia become inflamed and may grow

  • Recurrence is common and often more aggressive than the primary lesion

Clinical Findings

  • Pinguecula

    • A yellow elevated conjunctival nodule in the area of the palpebral fissure

    • More commonly on the nasal side

    • Common in persons over age 35 years

  • Pterygium

    • A fleshy, triangular encroachment of the conjunctiva onto the nasal side of the cornea

    • Usually associated with prolonged exposure to wind, sun, sand, and dust


  • Diagnosis made on clinical grounds alone


  • No treatment is usually required for inflammation of pinguecula or pterygium

  • Artificial tears are often beneficial

  • Indications for excision of pterygium

    • Growth that threatens vision by encroaching on the visual axis

    • Marked induced astigmatism

    • Severe ocular irritation

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