Surfer’s eye, also known as farmer’s eye or by the medical term pterygium (pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um) and pinguecula (pronounced pin-GWEK-yoo-la) are both growths on the cornea and conjunctiva of your eye. The cornea is the clear front of the eye, and the conjunctiva is a thin membrane over the white part of your eye known as the sclera. Both the pterygium and the pinguecula are noncancerous and somewhat common. Pinguecula is a growth on your eyeball. It can be a bump or yellow patch on the conjunctiva, which is near your cornea. It typically appears on the side of the eye that’s nearest to your nose. Pinguecula is an abnormality in the normal eye tissue that forms protein deposits, calcium or fate. It’s like a callus on your finger or toe. Pinguecula often forms or develops into surfer’s eye. Pterygium (surfer’s eye) grows over the white of your eye and cornea. It’s a fleshy growth of tissue that’s triangular in shape. This growth can be small so that it doesn’t interfere with your vision or grow large enough to adversely impact your vision. The formation of pterygium is also referred to as pterygium eye. When surfer’s eye grows large enough, it can affect the cornea’s shape, creating astigmatism of the eye.
The reason pterygium is called surfer’s eye and farmer’s eye is that it’s believed to be caused by environmental elements like dust and wind. However, it’s not entirely certain to the medical community what causes surfer’s eye or pingueculae to appear. Another potential cause of their growths is the harsh ultraviolet (UV) rays in sunlight..
For scientists and eye care professionals, ultraviolet radiation from the sun seems to be the main cause of pterygia and pingueculae to grow. Along with dust, debris and wind, another culprit is dry eye disease, which is the lack of sufficient moisture and lubrication on the surface of the eye.