The plural for pterygium is pterygia (“tur-ij-ee-ah”), and they are associated with the following risk factors:
- – Ultra-violet (UV) Exposure – regular exposure to UV light is thought to be the main cause of a pterygium as they more commonly occur in those living in sunny areas or whose jobs or lifestyle exposes them to excessive amounts of sunlight.
- – Environmental Irritants – extended and regular exposure to dry, dusty, sandy, polluted and/or windy conditions can also contribute to the development of a pterygium.
- – Gender and Age – men are much more likely to develop a pterygium than women, and they are more common in people over the age of 40.
Wearing good quality sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat when you’re outdoors is the best way to protect your eyes from UV light, which may help to slow or prevent the growth of a pterygium.
Top tips for finding the right sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV damage:
- – See your local optometrist for the right sunglasses – they will be able to advise you on a pair which can provide adequate UV protection
- – Go for a close-fitting and wrap-around style to cover as much the eye area as possible
- – Check the label for “sunglasses” or “special purpose sunglasses” and not “fashion spectacles”
- – Check the label for Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1067
A quick tip: darker lenses doesn’t enhance UV protection, and polarized lenses cut glare, not UV, so always check the label.