A pterygium is a wedge-shaped growth of thickened tissue that covers the white part of the eye. Typically, a pterygium starts growing near the inside corner of the eye. It is not a cancer and will not develop into cancer.

A pterygium may:

  • Grow large enough to cover the pupil, which can obstruct vision
  • Cause irritation, tearing and discomfort
  • Interfere with the comfortable wearing of contact lenses
  • Pull on the cornea and distort its shape, which can cause astigmatism
  • Look red and unattractive.

In these cases, the pterygium may have to be surgically removed.