Features of Pterygium and its difference from pinguecula.

Pterygium and Pinguecula are two names which are so similar that we often make mistakes when either is asked.So let us differentiate.


  1. Wing shaped fold of conjunctiva encroaching upon the cornea from either side of interpalpebral fissure
  2. Common in hot climates and in elderly males
  3. Pterygium is a degenerative and hyperplastic condition of conjunctiva.Subconjunctival tissue undergoes elastotic degeneration and proloferates as vascularised granulation tissue which encroaches upon the cornea, destroying the corneal epithelium,bowmans layer and superficial stroma.
  4. Pterygium can be unilateral or bilateral.
  5. It usually appears as a triangular fold of conjunctiva on nasal side of palpebral aperture, but it appears on temporal side also.
  6. Stockers line:Deposition of iron in corneal epithelium anterior to the advancing head of the pterygium.
  7. Asymptomatic in early stages, interferes with vision when it encroaches the pupillary area.

Pterygium has 3 parts:

  • Head – Anterior most part, present on cornea.
  • Neck – Limbal part.
  • Body – Scleral part.


  1. Pinguecula is named so because of its resemblance to fat(pinguis)
  2. Common degenerative condition of the conjunctiva,characterised by formation of yellowish white patch on bulbar conjunctiva, near the limbus.
  3. Seen in persons exposed extremes of climate, heat,wind etc.
  4. Pinguecula is considered as a precursor of pterygium.

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