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Gulf & Ranges

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April 9, 2018 | Mitch Hancock

Sun and UV expose can cause significant problems for the eye. Pterygium is one of the more common problems caused by UV exposure. Pterygiums are a growth of tissue on the front membrane surface of the eye. It starts on the clear layer overlying the white, the conjunctiva, and forms a fibrous vascular growth that advances onto the cornea. The cornea is the clear dome of tissue that sits in front of the iris. The centre of the cornea must remain clear and without distortion to maintain good vision.

Pterygiums are more common in people who have long term exposure to sunlight especially at younger ages but dry, dusty conditions can also make them grow. When exposed to the dry and often dusty elements of Port Augusta and this region, Pterygiums can become red and irritated, and cause watery eyes. They can sometimes be painful. Appropriately prescribed ointments and drops can assist to soothe the inflammation.

Pterygiums are not dangerous, they do need to be monitored as it may grow far enough onto the cornea to interfere with vison. A corneal Topography instrument can be used to map and measure the front surface of the eye to detect any changes occurring in the size of the growth or the distortion it causes. Alternatively, high magnification digital imagery of the cornea can help determine any advancement of the growth. If the Pterygium's growth gets to the stage where it is a threat to vision, then it should be surgically removed. To reduce the risks of developing a Pterygium or having an existing one getting worse, protect your eyes from sun, dirt and dust by wearing well fitted sunglasses.

Our staff can assist you protect your eyes for the future with an expertly fitted pair of sunglasses from our extensive range of quality sunglasses. If you have any of the symptoms of Pterygium or any other ocular health problem, then make an appointment to get your vision and ocular health assessed by our experienced optometrists.


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