Pingueculitis Eye Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Pingueculitis Eye Disorder: Symptoms, Causes, Prevention and Treatment

Authored by DesiMD Doctor on 14 Apr 2016 - 15:13.


Pingueculitis is a condition in which the Pinguecula gets inflamed. Pinguecula is a non cancerous growth that develops on your eye, characterized by bump on the white part of the eye (sclera), close to the edge of the cornea or yellowish patch that tends to swell when they get irritated, causing pingueculitis. American Academy of Ophthalmology, describes Pinguecula as a change in the normal tissue that results in the deposit of protein, calcium or fat and is similar to callus on the skin.

Sometimes more than one pinguecula may exist in each eye. Pinguecula seems to be more common in middle aged and elderly people who constantly expose themselves to the sunlight and also among younger children who spend significant amount of time outdoors in the sun. Pinguecula, in severe condition can occur within the conjunctiva.

Although pinguecula does not affect vision, it may blow up after couple of years and may develop into ptergyium which develops onto the cornea and affects vision. Ptergyium is a triangular shaped growth of fleshy tissue on the white of the eye that finally extends over the cornea.

A study conducted in the college of optometrist found that the prevalence of pterygium and pinguecula in a South Indian population was 9.5% and 11.3% respectively. However, rural population was associated with the presence of both pterygium and pinguecula. 

 As per American Academy of ophthalmology, below mentioned factors can cause a change in the normal tissue around the exposed area of the conjunctiva

  • Excessive exposure to sunlight: This is the primary cause of the development of pingueculae. Since the conjunctiva tissue does not have the tough keratin layer like the skin it is damaged faster by UV radiation.
  • Thyroid eye disease This can be a contributing factor and can promote the growth of pingueculae. Studies have shown a rise in pinguecula in patients afflicted with Thyroid Orbitopathy (hyperthyroid or an overactive thyroid gland that effects the eye).
  • Exposure to environmental elements: Frequent exposure to environmental elements such as wind, dust or extreme dry conditions may appear to be a risk factor.

If you experience any of the below signs and symptoms, approach your eye doctor for an examination.

  • Difficulty in wearing lenses due to irritation
  • Yellow patches on the white part of the eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Swelling in the areas where there is infection
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching
  • Stinging
  • Eye redness
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Irritation in the eyes



There is no medical treatment to cure of pinguecula as it does not affect your vision. Pinguecula only makes you less cosmetically appealing. Having a pinguecula can be annoying and cause redness and irritation. Not only this, if it spreads to your cornea, it can cause corneal erosion, dry eyes syndrome, early cataracts and many other eye disorders. Hence, immediate attention is preferred to quickly combat the effects of this condition

  • For mild pingueculitis, preservatives-free artificial tear drops such as Albalon or Tear plus may be beneficial in lubricating dry eye irritation and relieve foreign body sensation.
  • To ease significant swelling and inflammation, you may be prescribed steroid eye drops or NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as Acular, Ocufen, Ophtha, Voltaren to lessen the inflammation. However, it is important to note that using steroid related medication can cause adverse side effects, if not managed properly.
  • Surgical removal of pinguecula may be required in severe cases, if it interferes with normal blinking, vision or contact lens. If pinguecula becomes a pterygium, or enlarges and does not respond to eye drops, a simple surgical procedure can be done to remove it. Also if cosmesis is a concern, surgical excision is sometimes done.





In order to lessen the risk of pinguecula, Dr David Kisling, optometrist, an eye doctor at the Fort Collins community for the last 30 years recommends, the following preventive steps:

  • Always wear sunglasses and hats outdoors even on cloudy days, because the sun's UV rays penetrate cloud cover. This will prevent pinguecula and other eye diseases connected with sunlight exposure. Ideally, you should wear sunglasses that have a coating that blocks the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) ray
  • Opt for sunglasses with a wraparound frame design, which will block more sunlight and protect your face and sides.
  • Limit mid-day sun exposure
  • Keep your eyes moisturized with artificial tears, which may help prevent pingueculae.
  • Also wear protective eyewear when working in a dry and dusty environment
*Disclaimer This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.