Pterygium (surfer’s eye) new treatment with cardiovascular drug has been reported. The researchers have found a way to repurpose the drug known as dipyridamole to treat pterygium and other dry-eye symptoms.
Dipyridamole is a cardiovascular drug used to treat angina and prevent stroke, but it has also been found to aid in vision problems, such as diabetic retinopathy and ocular hypertension, to name a few.
Moshe Rogosnitzky, director of the Center for Drug Repurposing at Ariel University, said, “Until now, the only known treatment for pterygium has been surgical removal, which involves a high recurrence rate. In addition, patients are often given topical steroids to treat their symptoms, but this can result in glaucoma. Now we have a promising potential treatment for this very difficult to treat disorder, and it appears to be not only effective, but entails only a small amount of a very safe medicine. This treatment possibility offers very distinct advantages over the existing treatment offered.”
What is pterygium, or surfer’s eye?
Pterygium, or surfer’s eye, is a condition that affects the eyes. Although the exact cause is unknown, it has been speculated that excessive sun exposure will lead to this condition. Pterygium is a growth that occurs on the conjunctiva – the thin, clear tissue covering the eye. The growth begins to cover the sclera, or the white part of the eyes, and extends over the cornea. The growth is raised and contains blood vessels that you can see. Both eyes are at risk of developing pterygium.
Between 2010 and 2014, 80 percent of patients in South Korea who sought out medical attention for pterygium were over the age of 50. This suggests that age is a factor for developing surfer’s eye.
It’s important to note that the growth is non-cancerous and typically harmless. The growth can be removed with the surgery, but when pterygium grows over the cornea it can lead to blurred vision.
As mentioned, overexposure to sunlight may cause pterygium. Dust or wind are also contributors. Generally, pterygium is painless, but patients may report itchy or burning sensations.
Tips to protect your eyes from the harmful sun
Overexposure to the sun’s rays won’t just cause pterygium, but it has been reported that those who do not protect their eyes from the sun are at higher risk of developing cataracts 10 years sooner, compared to those who protect their eyes.
The best way to protect your eyes and vision is to wear sunglasses, preferably ones that block UVA and UVB light. For extra protection, wear a hat with a visor as well. And if you think the overcast sky will protect your eyes, you’d be wrong.
Even if there are clouds in the sky, those harmful rays can peek through affecting your eyes.
Treatment for surfer’s eye depends on the size of the pterygium and symptom severity. Your eye doctor may prescribe lubricants and mild steroid eye drops. Contact lenses may be helpful to cover up the growth. In severe cases, surgery may be required.
Basically, if you want to enjoy the warm weather and spend more time outdoors, aside from using the sun block and bug spray, wear a hat or sunglasses to protect your eyes.