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What is a pterygium?*

Trinidad Express / Pterygium (pronounced tery-gium) is a pinkish, fleshy growth from the conjunctiva (thin membrane covering the inside of the lids and white of the eye) extending on to the cornea (the clear front window of the eye). It usually presents on the side of the eye near the nose (nasal) but occasionally involves the outer (temporal) side. It may involve one eye or both and in few cases present with both nasal and temporal (double) pterygia in the same eye. A pterygium grows slowly towards the centre of the cornea and, if left untreated, may obstruct vision when it blocks light entering the pupil. It may also affect vision by distorting the regular shape, causing astigmatism) of the cornea. Causes of pterygium: These growths are believed to be caused by dryness, exposure to wind, atmospheric pollution, dust and ultra-violet (UV) light. They are commoner in hot, dry, sunny climates like Trinidad and Tobago. Some cases occur in families. Symptoms: A pink growth, burning, irritation, watering, redness and itching may occur.

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