There's a Bump on My Eye Part 1: Pinguecula

8:59 PM

When you look in the mirror, do you see any bumps on your eye or eyelids?  You are not alone!  I answer questions about "eye bumps" every single day, and most every one of these ocular growths are a very common entity.  I see so many different kinds of eye growths, or ocular lesions as we techinically label them, that I can spot them even when I don't want to.  Like when I am in the theater watching a movie.

Photo via Instagram.  You can just barely
see the pinguecula in the nasal corner
True story:  I went to see Skyfall this weekend.  There is a scene during the classic Bond intro where they have a close-up on Daniel Craig's left eye, and there is it was.  A huge, whopping pinguecula.

A pinguecula is a degenerative condition of the conjunctiva and sclera (the layers that comprise the white tissue of the eye when you look in the mirror).  Prolonged exposure to wind and UV light can cause the collagen fibers of the tissue to change, resulting in a thickened bump or nodule.  Sometimes this tissue is even yellow.   Think of a pinguecula like a callous that forms on the surface of the eye due to frequent exposure to the elements.  It is very common in athletes or anyone who has spent a lot of time outdoors without sun protection.  In equatorial regions, they can grow to be very large in size due to high amounts of UV exposure. While this condition doesn't routinely cause any vision problems, the damaged tissue is often very dry, and can also become red and inflamed when irritated. 

Pinguecla via
There is no way to get rid of a pinguecula permanently.  It may be surgically removed, but there is a high risk of recurrence. The only real treatment is to prevent the damaged area from becoming inflamed or growing in size.  Sunglasses and frequent lubrication with rewetting drops can help prevent further damage.

Daniel Craig:  Can you spot the pinguecula?  Look at the inner (nasal) corner of the left eye.  It is small, but definitely present.  

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