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A pinguecula is a common, benign yellowish growth of the mucous membrane that lines the eyeball and underside conjunctiva.

General information

Maybe you already have yellowish growth. You probably worry is that some kind of tumor. Than you need to read those information about a pinguecula. A pinguecula are found in the open space between your eyelids, which also happens to be the area exposed to the sun.  A pinguecula grow near the cornea on the nasal side. In some cases a pingueculae can appear on either side of the cornea. A pinguecula is an alteration of normal tissue resulting in a deposit of protein and fat. It does not actually grow onto the cornea.  Pingueculae are caused by ultraviolet light and are most common among people who spend a great deal of time outdoors.  Maybe you already have yellowish growth. You probably worry is that some kind of tumor. Than you need to read those information about a pinguecula.

This growth does not affect vision. A pinguecula may cause irritation if it becomes elevated.  In some cases, the pinguecula may gradually extend over the cornea, forming a pterygium. 

Disease process

The damage of conjunctiva is leading to a pinguecula.  First, the collagen fibers in this membrane degenerate. Than collagen fibers are replaced by thicker, yellowish fibers and sometimes calcium crystals, which cause the elevated, yellowish appearance of a pinguecula. In the disease process the conjunctiva that lines the eyelid may become irritated as it passes over the pinguecula. If lubrication of the eye is insufficient that may aggravate a pinguecula, causing it to become more yellow and irritated. Pinguecula can become swollen and inflamed, that condition is called pingueculitis.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors   

Pingueculae may increase in size over many years. A pinguecula is a non-cancerous growth of the conjunctiva and cause is unknown. Researches think that chronic sunlight exposure and eye irritation may contribute to pingueculae development. The causes of A pinguecula are not completely understood, prolonged exposure to ultraviolet and infrared radiation from sunlight has been implicated. The dust and wind may play a role as well. People who spend a lot of time in the sun are much more likely to have pingueculae than indoor folks. There is occupational risk, such as farmers and fishermen or those who engage in outdoor activities such as golfing and gardening. Pingueculae are more common in middle-aged or older people who spend significant amounts of time in the sun. They can also be found in younger people and even children, especially those who spend a lot of time in the sun without protection. This condition may appear after a short exposure to chemicals or other mechanisms which damage the conjunctiva, but the tissue damage worsens with continued exposure.

Signs and Symptoms

A pinguecula is quite common, usually benign eye condition. When someone has pingueculae the main symptom is a yellow or white nodule on the conjunctiva near the cornea. Pingueculae are harmless growths, and usually don’t produce symptoms. Most common symptoms include: yellowish and raised area on the conjunctiva, irritation dry eye, occasional inflammation of the conjunctiva, scratchiness, redness if the area becomes irritated. Pingueculae can become swollen and inflamed, that condition is called pingueculitis.

Irritation and eye redness caused by pingueculitis usually is result from exposure to sun, wind, dust, or extremely dry conditions. A pinguecula may cause excessive discomfort due to dryness or a chronic foreign body sensation.

How is pinguecula diagnosed?

You can see Pingueculae with a naked eye.  Ophthalmologists diagnose the growth with a careful examination with a slit lamp microscope. An eye examination is often sufficient to diagnose the Pingueculae.

Treatment

Treatment is rarely needed. Usually no treatment is required. Because of their benign nature, pingueculae rarely require treatment. The treatment depends on severity of symptoms This condition is non-cancerous and the outlook is good.  In some cases, the growth may become inflamed, causing irritation and dryness.  Ophthalmologist may prescribe artificial tears for lubrication and mild anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling. Lubricating eye drops may be prescribed for those with mild pingueculitis to relieve dry eye irritation and foreign-body sensation. Steroid eye drops or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs may be needed to relieve significant inflammation. Well established pinguecula do not respond as well to treatment.

The temporary use of mild steroid eye drops can be helpful. In some cases, it may need to be removed for discomfort or cosmetic reasons. You should see doctor if the size, shape, or color of a pinguecula changes. Surgery is the only way to remove a pinguecula, but the surgery isn’t always successful. The recurrence rate is often as high as 50 to 60 percent. Surgery is not recommended unless a pinguecula is causing significant problems. The most of cases of pingueculae don’t cause any eye disease, and surgery usually is not necessary.

You should always consult your doctor if you suspect you have sustained damage to your eye.  Consult your doctor if you think that you may have a pinguecula growing in your eye.

Complications   

Because pingueculae look like growths, some people worry that they may become malignant. The underlying process is a degenerative one and usually does not lead to anything serious such as a serious loss of vision or blindness or cancer. Pingueculae can lead to the formation of pterygia. In some patient excessive growth may extend over the cornea and impair vision.

Prevention

The cause is unknown and there is no prevention. There is no known method of preventing a pinguecula.  Some doctor recommends using good quality sunglasses and avoiding eye irritants.

Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes and helps with symptoms of irritation in the eye. Carrots, mangoes, apricots, corn and other fruits and vegetables contain vitamin A.

Eat more food which contains Vitamin C and vitamin E.  Those vitamins are antioxidants that help to fight degeneration of cells in the eye. Sources include fresh vegetable (sweet potatoes, garlic), pumpkin seeds, oysters, citrus fruits...

Omega - 6 and omega -3 essential fatty acids can alleviate dryness of the eyes. Those essential fatty acids are found in unrefined nut and seed oils that have not cooked. Our body uses these oils to make prostaglandins, which help to keep skin and eye tissue supple and moist.

You should avoid saturated fats found in beef, pork, most margarines and butter, because saturated fats interfere with the metabolism of essential fatty acids. You should drink juices such as carrot, spinach, beet and cucumber are recommended. That isn’t only good for your eyes; it is good for your health. Also you should drink at least 6 to 8 glasses of water daily.

You should know that Vitamin A, vitamin B complex, vitamin C and vitamin E are essential vitamins for eye health and assist with symptoms of dryness and irritation. You should eat healthy food can, because that reduce risks of many diseases.