What Are the Causes of Pinguecula?

Written by jeanne baird
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Many people enjoy spending time in the sun while doing outdoor activities. However, the rays of the sun may cause damage to the eyes of those who spend too much time in it. This damage includes spots that can appear on the eyes, such as pinguecula. Sunglasses are an option for protection that is recommended by experts.

What Is Pinguecula

Pinguecula is a disease that affects the eyes. It appears as a patch that is yellow in colour that can be seen on the part of the eye that is white, the sclera. Pinguecula is commonly located on the side of the eye that is closest to the nose.

Who Is at Risk?

The people who are most at risk for pinguecula are those who spend a good deal of time outside. For example, people who like to golf, fish or garden may be more at risk for this disease than those who spend their time inside. The causes of pinguecula are not fully understood; however, exposure to sunlight's radiation in the form of infrared and ultraviolet light is the strongest suspect. Other things like dust that cause irritation to the eyes may also be a cause.


The main symptom of pinguecula is the visible yellow patch on the eye. If this appears in a person's eye with no other symptoms, an ophthalmologist should be seen in order to start treatment as soon as possible.


An ophthalmologist can easily diagnose a case of pinguecula with a slit lamp. This instrument is a type of microscope that can allow the eye doctor to have a closer look at the eye through magnification and light.


The doctor-recommended treatment for pinguecula can be artificial tears for minor cases. For cases where the pinguecula has caused the eye to become swollen or tender, the treatment may be a decongestant specifically for the eye.

More Serious Cases

Three more serious forms of pinguecula may require surgery. Pinguecula may affect the person's vision by creating astigmatism. This may be corrected by surgery. Another form is when pinguecula is cosmetically undesirable. Surgery may be able to make the pinguecula smaller in size. A final form is when the pinguecula makes the affected eye feel dry. This can be somewhat allayed by surgery.


As there is no certain way of preventing pinguecula from forming in the eye, protecting the eyes from the sun may be the best idea. Wearing proper eye wear that will keep the ultraviolet rays from harming the eyes and also keeping time in the sun to a minimum help prevent pinguecula.

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