A pterygium is a benign growth that develops on the conjunctiva, or the thin, clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye. A pink, triangular-shaped lesion consisting of scar tissue and blood vessels, a pterygium often starts on the inner corner of the eye and can advance into the cornea, or the front portion of the eye that covers the pupil and iris. The condition may occur in one or both eyes, and is referred to as pterygia when more than one growth exists. A pterygium can impact your vision and may require monitoring or advanced treatment from a qualified eye care specialist. At Triangle Eye Institute, board-certified ophthlamologist Dr. Steven Yaplee utilizes the latest in state-of-the-art techniques to diagnose and treat a pterygium in Bakersfield, CA patients.


Pterygia, also called “surfer’s eye,” are mostly found in individuals who are repeatedly exposed to wind, sand or dust, and direct sunlight, especially when UV rays are intensified by water. Symptoms of a pterygium often include burning, itchiness, dry eye, or the sensation that something is in the eye. Along with a thorough eye exam and digital imaging, a visual acuity test and corneal topography can be performed to evaluate the extent of the condition. In minor cases, Dr. Yaplee may treat a pterygium with a lubricating solution or steroid eye drops. More advanced conditions might require a surgical approach to remove the growth, particularly those that impair vision or impact cosmetic appearance.


While pterygia are usually benign, these abnormal growths can impact your vision and overall quality of life. Please contact our Bakersfield or Delano, CA office to schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Yaplee. Our knowledgeable team can also answer any questions you have about insurance coverage for pterygium treatment or other details about your care. Find relief from pterygium symptoms at Triangle Eye Institute.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the symptoms of pterygium?

    The most common signs and symptoms of pterygium of the eye include:

    • Itching or burning on the surface of the eye
    • Irritation
    • Bloodshot whites of the eye where the pterygium is located
    • Eye pain
    • Blurred vision
    What causes pterygium of the eye?

    A pterygium can be caused by several factors, but most commonly from repeated exposure to wind, sand, dust, pollen, smoke, and direct sunlight, especially when UV rays are intensified by the water. This is why it’s also known as “surfer’s eye” since many surfers have been known to be affected by a pterygium.

    Can pterygium go away on its own?

    Sometimes a pterygium may go away on its own, but it will often leave a scar behind. If you have a pterygium, Dr. Yaplee always recommends that you schedule an eye exam to have it evaluated and treated to avoid any permanent damage to your eye.

    Can pterygium cause blindness?

    In rare cases, a pterygium can severely scar the cornea, causing vision loss. Usually, these cases are minor and only require drops or ointment to ease inflammation. If the pterygium is serious, it can be surgically removed.