A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Eye Health: Don’t get so carried away by the spring sunshine that you forget eye protection

By Dr. Dawn Stratton
KyForward columnist

With the winter that’s being experienced across the U.S., there’s no doubt we are eager to spend time outside this spring and summer. While the sun will be a welcome sight, I want you to be sure to protect your eyes from UV rays.
The sun can cause many eye issues, one of which is Pinguecula. Pinguecula is a yellowish, slightly raised thickening of the clear membrane that covers the white part of the eye (sclera), close to the edge of the cornea. This usually occurs on the part of the sclera that is between the eyelids, which is exposed to the sun.
Middle-aged or older people who spend a great amount of time in the sun are more likely to experience pingueculae. However, the condition can be found in younger people or children who are outside frequently without adequate sun protection such as hats or sunglasses.
Pinguecula does not cause many symptoms, but, when irritated, it may feel like there is something in the eye (a.k.a. “foreign body sensation”). If a pinguecula becomes swollen or inflamed, this is considered pingueculitis.
Exposure to sun, wind, dust or extremely dry conditions can cause irritation and eye redness with pingueculitis. Pinguecula can also lead to pterygium, also known as Surfer’s Eye, which is a wedge-shaped growth that takes over the cornea.
The treatment for pinguecula depends on how severe the symptoms. For mild cases, eye drops can be prescribed to ease dry-eye irritation and foreign-body sensation. Significant inflammation and swelling may require steroid eye drops or nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. Only in severe cases is surgical removal necessary.
If you notice these yellow thickenings occurring in your eyes, get them checked. And, of course, always practice sun protection.


Dr. Dawn Stratton, O.D., is the founder of Stratton Eyes. She is a graduate of Illinois College of Optometry in Chicago and earned her Doctor of Optometry in 1994. Based in Lexington, Dr. Stratton is a member of American Optometric Association, the Kentucky Optometric Association, the National Association of Professional Women and the Fellowship of Christian Optometrists. She also provides eye exams for patients at the Hope Center, Room at the Inn and The Nest. Visit Stratton-Eyes.com for more information or call 859-245-2020 or email office@strattoneyes.com. You can also find the office on Facebook and on Twitter @StrattonEyes.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment