Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) most often refers to a benign growth of the conjunctiva.  A pterygium commonly grows from the nasal side of the sclera.  It is usually present in the palpebral fissure.  It is associated with, and thought to be caused by ultraviolet-light exposure (e.g., sunlight), low humidity, and dust.

Image from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine, (link), high resolution image

The predominance of pterygia on the nasal side is possibly a result of the sun’s rays passing laterally through the cornea, where it undergoes refraction and becomes focused on the limbic area.

Because it is a benign growth, pterygium typically does not require surgery unless it grows to such an extent that it covers the pupil, obstructing vision or presents with acute symptoms.  Some of the irritating symptoms can be addressed with artificial tears. However, no reliable medical treatment exists to reduce or even prevent pterygium progression.  Definitive treatment is achieved only by surgical removal. (adapted from wikipedia)

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