Everything Surfers Need to Know About 
Surfer's Eye
What is a Pterygium?  Why is it called Surfer's Eye?
Surfer with pterygium
Extreme close up of a surfer with surfer's eye!
Pterygium is a benign growth of the clear membrane that covers the white of the eye.  It is possible to  get a pterygium in one or both eyes.  This condition is much more common among surfers than other demographics and is frequently called “surfer's eye”.
What Should Surfers Think About Surfer's Eye?
Pterygiums are common among surfers but if you protect your eyes with surf sunglasses, you will greatly diminish your chances of having any problems.  If you already have surfer's eye, wearing surf sunglasses will slow down their growth.  Regularly using lubricating eye drops will help too.

Fortunately surfer's eye is not dehabilitating.  Typically it is only unsightly, and only rarely does it reach the point where it disturbs the eye or disrupts vision.  If the membrane grows to the point where it starts to cover your pupil the required surgery is simple and accessible.  
How Many People Get Surfer's Eye?
Pterygium rates vary tremendously depending on exposure to sunlight and therefore geographic location.  In the most northern states rates are around 2%.  In the very south of the US 10% to 15% of people will get at least one pterygium in their life.  Pterygium is twice as common in males as it is in females.  And don't forget pterygium rates are substantially higher for surfers.
What are the Causes of Pterygium
Exact causes of surfer's eye is not known, but scientists believe the most important factors are:
  • Dry conditions
  • dusty conditions

How to Prevent Surfer's Eye
The best way to prevent (or slow down the growth of) surfer's eye is to keep your eyes “comfortable”.  When outside wear full coverage shades that offer 100% UV protection (like all the casual sunglasses and surf sunglasses found at www.WearSurfGlasses.com).  If they feel dry, lube them up with eye drops.  And when you are surfing wear surf sunglasses!  Surf sunglasses keep the sun AND the spray off.
Pterygium Removal Surgery
No treatment is required for surfer's eye until it becomes irritating or blocks vision.  Once they reach that point they should be removed surgically.  The surgeon basically takes a knife to your eye and cuts the thing off.  More often than not, pterygiums grow back faster and stronger after surgery.
What is pterygium surgery like?
The Cost of Pterygium Surgery
$2,000 to $3,000 per eye
More information on Pterygiums
Surf Sunglasses protecting against pterygium
Sunglasses are good.  The Tierra del Fuego (above) transform for use on land too.
WearSurfGlasses.com is the Surf Sunglasses Super Store