A pinguecula is a non-cancerous yellowish bump on the eyeball. The most common cause of a pinguecula developing is frequent exposure to the sun’s UV rays, dust and wind without a hat or sunglasses. Middle-aged and older people are most likely to develop pingueculae, but younger adults and children can develop them as well. Most people don’t experience any symptoms, but if tears are blocked from covering the entire area, dry eye condition can occur, causing itching, stinging and a feeling of something in your eye. In some instances, pingueculae cause extra blood vessels to cover the eyeball, causing red eyes, and occasionally it can become swollen and inflamed.
A pinguecula does not overlap the cornea (the clear layer in front of the iris and pupil), but a pterygium does.
Most pinguecula are asymptomatic and no treatment is necessary. However, contact lens wearers may find it causes a problem with wearing the lens, and in some people the pinguecula is more uncomfortable when blinking. In any of these instances, and for cosmetic reasons, a pinguecula can be removed surgically by an oculoplastic surgeon. The surgery is similar to pterygium surgery, with good results and short recovery time.