What Is Pinguecula?

Pinguecula is a yellow bump or spot that grows on the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the clear lining along the eyelid that covers the white part of the eye (sclera). The growth of a pinguecula lump or spot is classified as benign and not cancer so it is not dangerous.

When experiencing pinguecula, the sufferer’s eyes will feel dry, swollen, painful, or red. Although it is more often experienced by elderly people (elderly), it is possible that younger people or even children can also experience pinguecula.

Causes of Pinguecula

Pinguecula occurs when the tissue on the conjunctiva changes to form a small lump or spot. In pinguecula lumps or spots, there is usually fat, calcium, or protein content.

The cause of conjunctival tissue changes is not known with certainty. However, the following factors are thought to be related to the appearance of pinguecula:

  • Too often exposed to the sun, dust, or wind
  • Often do outdoor activities and live in areas with hot temperatures
  • Aged
  • Frequent use of contact lenses
  • Smoke
  • Suffer from diabetes mellitus

Pinguecula Symptoms

Pinguecula is characterized by a small yellowish spot or bump on the conjunctiva of the eye. These spots or bumps usually grow on the side of the cornea near the nose, but can also grow in other parts. Pinguecula can grow in size, but generally takes several years.

In addition to yellow spots and bumps, pinguecula sufferers can also experience the following symptoms:

  • Eyes are dry, itchy, burning, or it feels like sand is stuck in the eye
  • Vision becomes blurred
  • Red or watery eyes

When to see a doctor

In general, pinguecula does not cause serious symptoms so it does not need to be treated. However, an examination needs to be done if the following symptoms occur:

  • Pinguecula changes in size, shape, or color
  • Thick, yellow discharge from one or both eyes
  • The eyelids or the skin around the eyes are red and swollen
  • The symptoms experienced did not subside even though they had undergone treatment
  • Visual disturbances occur

An examination should also be carried out if there is concern about the condition being experienced.

Pinguecula Diagnostics

To diagnose pinguecula, the doctor will ask questions and answers about the patient’s symptoms and medical history. After that, the doctor will carry out a physical examination of the eyes.

Doctors can generally detect pinguecula just by looking directly at the appearance and location of the growing spots or bumps. However, to confirm the diagnosis, the doctor may perform a slit lamp biomicroscopy examination. This examination will show the size, shape, and color of the lump more clearly.

If needed, a scanning procedure called optical coherence tomography may also be done to determine the thickness of the lump.

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