pterygiumPterygium (pronounced tur-ig-ee-um) is a Corneal Disease consisting of abnormal tissue growth that protrudes from the eye’s conjunctiva (membrane covering whites of the eyes) onto the cornea. Pterygium usually develops in the inner corner of the eyes and can either be small or grow big enough in size to cause irritation and ultimately interfere with normal vision. It is not exactly clear why Pterygium develops in the eye(s); however, an eye exam at Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surery can determine whether or not you have Pterygium.  Dr. David O’Day, M.D. and his team of experts diagnose and treat Pterygium using the most up-to-date techniques and technology available today. Call (843) 856-5275 to schedule an appointment today!


The following list of symptoms does not necessarily mean that your eye has a Pterygium. But, if you are experiencing more than one symptom, it’s best to contact Dr. David O’Day, M.D. at Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery for a thorough exam.

  • Appearance of a raised red, pink, or white lesion
  • Blurry or decreased vision
  • Sensation of a foreign body
  • Dryness
  • Irritation
  • Redness of the eye

Who is at Risk?

Pterygium generally develops in individuals who spend a lot of time outside, especially in windy, sunny regions. Most medical experts agree there are certain risk factors that may contribute to the disorder including:

  • Dry Eye
  • Wind and dust irritants
  • Prolonged exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays

Individuals who live close to the equator have a much higher risk of developing Pterygium. But, it can affect anyone living in a sunny, dry climate and occurs most often in people between 20 – 40 years of age and generally tends to affect more men than women.

Diagnosis and Testing

Pterygium can be detected and diagnosed in a routine eye exam at Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery. At times, Dr. O’Day may choose to take photos in order to measure growth and/or Astigmatism of the irregular tissue that may be a factor in declining vision. It’s imperative to visit your ophthalmologist since other more severe disorders can eventually appear that are like Pterygium.


If Pterygium become irritated and red, ointments or topical eye drops may be necessary in order to decrease the inflammation. If the Pterygium remain irritated, get big enough to threaten your vision, or start to appear unsightly, they can be surgically removed. Sometimes they reappear upon surgical removal.


The best way to prevent Pterygium from developing is to try and avoid exposure to certain environmental factors that encourage the condition. You can help prevent it by always wearing quality sunglasses or a hat in order to properly protect your eyes from dust particles, wind, and sunlight as well as the sun’s harsh ultraviolet rays. If you’re already experiencing Pterygium, try to limit your exposure to sunlight, pollen, dust, wind, and smoke to slow down its growth. This will help prevent any from recurring once they’re removed.

No matter what your vision-related issues are, it is crucial to have a skilled, caring, and trusted health care provider. If you live in Mount Pleasant, North Charleston, and Myrtle Beach SC or surrounding areas, consider visiting Charleston Cornea & Refractive Surgery for help with a variety of vision-related issues including Pterygium – don’t take chances with your eyesight. Call us at (843) 856-5275 to schedule an appointment today.