What is a Pterygium (Carnosidad)

A Pterygium (Carnosidad) is a non-cancerous growth on the surface of the eye that can cause pain, discomfort, redness and decreased vision if left untreated. A Pterygium is caused by extended exposure to the sun, so people who spend a lot of time outdoors are more at risk. Although Pterygium growths are benign, a person’s quality of life can be affected by the pain, irritation, redness and decreased vision.

A Pterygium (Carnosidad) is a wing-shaped growth that slowly grows from the white part of the eye (conjunctiva) onto the clear part of the eye (cornea, in front of the colored iris). In severe cases, Pterygium can grow from both nasal and temporal directions at the same time (double Pterygia). Pterygia can be white to pinkish red to bright red in color when inflamed. A Pterygium may feel like something is in the eye to occasional irritation to a constant discomfort on the surface of the eye.​​​​​​​

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​​​​​​​Who is at risk for Pterygium (Carnosidad)?

A Pterygium is more common than you may think. Those who get a Pterygium typically are adults between the ages of 20-40 who work daily in very sunny environments or participating in a lot of outdoor activities. A higher percentage of men get Pterygium than women. It is more common in those with Latino ancestry, which is why they are also referred to in Spanish as a Carnosidad. They are also common in the surfing community where a Pterygium is referred to as Surfer’s Eye.

Pterygium (Carnosidad) Surgery


The surgeons at Shepard Eye Center are highly trained and skilled at treating a Pterygium (Carnosidad) and have performed thousands of these procedures over the past 25 years. This condition is common in our communities on the Central Coast. The symptoms of discomfort and redness can be treated with eye drops, but the drops will not remove the growth. If relief is not achieved with eye drops, surgery is recommended to remove the Pterygium.

Our Pterygium surgery consists of our newest technique for removing the growth and covering the surgery site with a conjunctival graft to help it heal faster. We use sterile tissue glue instead of sutures in most cases to adhere the conjunctival graft to help improve post-operative comfort. We use Mitomycin C at the time of surgery to help reduce the possibility of recurrence.

Patients come from all over California for our state-of-the-art Pterygium removal surgery. Our experienced surgeons are known for their talented surgical skill, very low recurrence rate and our office offers affordable pricing.

Shepard Eye Center accepts most insurances. For cash-paying patients we offer Pterygium surgery for a low $1900 per Pterygium. This out-patient procedure is performed in the convenience of our modern office surgical suite with quick recovery. Call to set up an appointment today for an exam and consultation with one of our surgeons.