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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7814
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am a female in my 70s and have suddenly developed yellowing

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I am a female in my 70's and have suddenly developed yellowing of the eye in the corner and it is also very red not sore or any other symptoms other than a headache
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Are you available to chat?

Dr. Rick :

I guess you have stepped away from your computer.

Dr. Rick :

It sounds like what you have is called a pinguecula. This is a change in the skin around the eye (conjunctiva) from a lifetime's worth of exposure to sunlight. It is not a cancer. It also can become irritated and red at times.

Dr. Rick :

here is a picture of a small pinguecula. You can find many other pictures by going to google images:

Dr. Rick :

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/53/PRE-OPERATIVE_PINGUECULA.JPG/800px-PRE-OPERATIVE_PINGUECULA.JPG

Dr. Rick :

This is a pterygium. As you can see one of the major differences between a pterygium and a pinguecula is that the former grows across the clear part of your eye (cornea):

Dr. Rick :

Go to fullsize image
Full Size Image

Dr. Rick :

If you are bothered by your pinguecula it can be surgically removed fairly easily using local anesthesia. One word of caution however.....they have the nasty habit of growing back, sometimes with a vengeance.

Dr. Rick :

What can you do about your pinguecula short of having it surgically removed? Well, to decrease the redness use soothing natural tears 4 to 6x/day or more, cool compresses and treat any underlying blepharitis you may have.

Dr. Rick :

The best treatment for blepharitis is daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on your eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.


 

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Dr. Rick :

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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
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Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Let me know if you would like to discuss this issue further. Have a good day.
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
I lost contact sorry it is not on skin but on the cornea
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Then that is a pterygium and not a pinguecula. Does it look like the picture I attached above?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
yes very much so
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
Ok. Well the treatment is about the same as I discussed for the pinguecula. If the pterygium is affecting your vision it, too, can be surgically removed by your ophthalmologist under local anesthesia. Pterygium, also, tend to like to grow back, although a number of treatments during the surgery and post-op have been designed to reduce the chance of them growing back.

Wearing sunglasses etc will not really make a difference at this point as the horse is already out of the barn, if you get my meaning.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.
will it get worse or can I live with it ( don't really want surgery at my age unless absolutely necessary)
and what causes this please
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
It is caused by changes of the skin around your eye (conjunctiva) from a lifetimes exposure to UV light. Once again, it is not a cancer.

There is no need to do anything about it unless it starts to affect your vision or you just don't like looking at it. It may slowly grow bigger or it may just stay the way it is.....pterygium tend to have a mind of their own :)

You will not loose anything by just leaving it alone for now.

Does this make sense?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.
Thank you very much I was a little worried and my imagination was working overtime.
Thank you for your time
Georgina
Expert:  Dr. Rick replied 3 years ago.
My pleasure. I'm glad I could be of assistance. Have a good day.
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 7814
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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