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Dr. JLB, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 86
Experience:  General Ophthalmologist, Fellowship trained in Refractive Surgery
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Possible Pinguecula

Resolved Question:

I went to the optometrist a few months back because I was noticing some yellowish streaks on the whites of my eyes. The doctor told me that I had pinguecula of the eye, but that it was not dangerous. Since I am only 30 years of age and have not had much exposure to the sun (UV lighting), I was curious if some of my medications may have caused the problem.

I have fibromyalgia and am one some pain medication, and I have been on antidepressants since the age of 13. Just looking for a connetion between a possible autoimmune disease and the yellowing eyes. (my primary physician ruled out jaundice)

If I do have Pinguelcula, is there any treatment? My eye doctor suggested wearing sunglasses with extra protection, which I always have done. Could it be that perpetual use of the computer could've added to this condition?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. JLB replied 7 years ago.

HI Ibirvin,


The major risk factors for pingueculae (plural for pinguecula) are UV exposure, exposure to wind, exposure to dust. Although not named as a major risk factor, chronic dry eyes can also be a factor. Chronic dry eyes will lead to a low level inflammation of the conjunctiva which is not clearly evident on a routine eye exam; however, research has shown that this inflammation is present.


There are two factors in your history that may predispose you to chronic dryness. Many antidepressents have dry eyes as a side effect. Also long term use of computers can also contribute to dry eyes. When we use computers, we tend to blink less than normal which will ultimately cause dry eyes. Dry eyes can often be tolerated well by many patients and go untreated for years. Despite this tolerance, there is still damage caused to the conjunctiva that can lead to pingueculae.


Pingueculae can progress to pterygia (plural for pterygium). If this occurs, surgery may be necessary to remove the pterygium before it affects vision. This is the reason that continued use of sunglasses is important. I would also recommend good hydration (1 to 2 liters of water daily), and use of artificial tear drops 2 to 3 times per day. This will keep the eyes comfortable and help prevent progression to pterygia.


I hope this is helpful....





Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Are there any prescription or over the counter drops that can reduce the yellowish tint of my eyes?
Expert:  Dr. JLB replied 7 years ago.

Hi Ibirvin,


Unfortunately, there are no drops that can remove the yellowing of the eyes. Surgery is the only alternative, although most doctors would not operate unless the pingueculae were causing symptoms of inflammation or were progressing on to pterygia.


You may use artificial tears to prevent inflammation of the pingueculae. Inflammation would be manifested as elevation, redness and foreign body sensation in the area. If this scenario were to occur then anti-inflammatory medication, such as Lotemax or Pred-Forte may be used. These are steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, therefore, a prescription would be required for purchase. Zaditor is good, over the counter medication, that may be somewhat useful in this situation, although not as effective as prescriptin drops.


I hope this is helpful, but please let me know if I can be of further assistance.





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