A pinguecula is a benign, or noncancerous, growth that develops on your eye. These growths are called pinguecula when there are more than one. These growths occur on the conjunctiva, the thin layer of tissue that covers the white part of your eye.

Pinguecula are visible where the conjunctiva meets the clear cornea (an anatomic landmark called the limbus).

You can get pinguecula at any age, but they’re mainly found in middle-aged and older people. These growths rarely need to be removed, and no treatment is necessary in most cases.


Health experts don’t yet know exactly what causes a pinguecula. However, most agree that there is a connection with exposure to outside irritants over periods of months or years. For example, you may be at risk for pinguecula if you:

  • Work outside
  • Spend a lot of time outdoors
  • Are exposed to UV light, either outside or in a tanning bed
  • Spend a lot of time exposed to wind and/or dust


The most common symptom of pinguecula is a small, yellowish patch or bump on the conjunctiva of your eye.

Other symptoms include:

  • Red, irritated, itchy or swollen eyes.
  • Dry eyes.
  • Feeling like you have sand or grit in your eye.
  • Teary eyes.

These symptoms can be mild to severe. Pinguecula can happen in one or both eyes and more than one can be present in the same eye.


Your eye care provider can diagnose pinguecula through a normal eye exam. Your provider will use a slit lamp to closely examine the growth. A slit lamp is a type of microscope that focuses a narrow (a “slit”) line of bright light on your eye. It helps your provider look at the front and inside of your eye.

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