A pterygium is a triangular-shaped lump of tissue which grows from the conjunctiva (the thin membrane that covers the white of the eye) on to the cornea (the clear central part of your eye).
Fortunately it is not a cancer but can look unsightly and/or cause discomfort.

What causes a Pterygium?

40. pterygium

The exact cause is unknown but they are strongly connected to exposure to ultra-violet radiation and hot, dry environments. This is more common in the northern parts of Australia and among people such as farmers and surfers who spend a lot of time outdoors.
The main issue with a pterygium is that they can grow onto the cornea, which distorts it, causes discomfort and may interfere with your vision. If the pterygium grows on the central part of the cornea, over the pupil, it can begin to block light from entering your eye.

The best way to reduce your risk of developing a pterygium is to protect your eyes from ultraviolet light.  You can do this by wearing wraparound sunglasses with high UV protection.
If the pterygium is not actively growing on your cornea, simply protecting your eyes from ultraviolet light will be the only treatment required, providing it is not threatening your vision and remains stable.

What is the treatment for a Pterygium?

The only permanently effective treatment for pterygium is surgical removal. It is usually only indicated when you are symptomatic and is performed under local anaesthetic in a day surgery.