Pterygium, also known as surfer’s eye, is the presence of a murky pink tissue lying on top of the eye’s conjunctiva, the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye and lines the inside of the eyelid. The conjunctiva helps lubricate the eye with mucus and tears and protects it from invasive microbes. You have likely heard of conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pinkeye. While this is a common ailment affecting the conjunctiva, pterygium is also a threat to the health of the eye.

1. What Are the Signs and Symptoms?

Pterygium often presents as a pale pink tissue lying on the outside of the eye, commonly in a small triangle shape. It is typically visible to an outside viewer or in a mirror and is on the side of the eye closest to the nose, working toward the pupil. An affected individual may experience a burning or itching sensation, redness, and the feeling that an object is in the eye. Some people with this condition experience blurred vision, but it does not occur in all cases.

pterygium eyeSrisakorn / Getty Images