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Protecting Eyes from Pesky Pingueculas in Optometrists in North Austin, Georgetown & Pflugerville

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By Dr. Hiren Patel, OD

Imagine gardening in your backyard on a hot and sunny Austin day. You wipe the sweat off your forehead, thinking that some got into your eyes because of how irritated they feel. Allergens are high this time of year for those sensitive to cedar, but you feel every year it’s getting worse and worse. You’ve tried eye drops for allergies and while they seem to help a little, it doesn’t seem to do a good enough job.  It turns out that the main issue could be something else entirely: pingueculas. 

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Figure 1: pinguecula on left and right side of the eye, indicated by the blue arrows

The first time I heard the word pinguecula, I thought it was some strange mix between pink eye and Count Dracula. A pinguecula is simply a yellowish-colored lesion that is growing over the white of the eye. Pingueculas often occur on the nasal (nose-side) half of the eye, but often happen on both sides of an eye as seen in figure 1, and can affect both eyeballs equally. They are caused primarily by outdoor environmental factors such as wind, dust, and ultraviolet light exposure. Living closer to the equator, like here in Central Texas, puts you at a higher risk of getting them. 

Once a pinguecula develops on an eye, it can cause ocular surface issues. This includes redness and a feeling like something is stuck in the eye. A pinguecula can become inflamed, causing pingueculitis, which can be alleviated with prescription eye drops. 


If you aren’t sure if you have a pinguecula, ask your optometrist! Using a biomicroscope to examine the eyes, it is an easy diagnosis to make for our optometrists during an eye exam. Sometimes a pinguecula can be an off-white color and difficult to see without the help of magnification. Optometrists can let you know how you are doing in terms of protecting your eyes from harmful ultraviolet rays! 

We know what causes it and know how it feels, but how do we treat it? Unfortunately, there are no magic eye drops to make a pinguecula go away. The only way to have a pinguecula go away is by surgical removal. That is rarely ever necessary, instead pingueculas are treated by artificial tears to reduce irritations, and sunglasses or goggles to protect from ultraviolet light or wind. 

If left untreated for years, a pinguecula can eventually worsen into a pterygium. This is when the lesion starts to grow onto the clear cornea on the front of the eye, leading to worsened redness, more irritation, and eventually blurry vision. It may be a good idea to have a pterygium surgically removed to improve vision if it is causing issues such as astigmatism or blocking the view through your pupil. 

If there’s one thing that I want you to remember from all of this, it’s to wear sunglasses. Whether you already have a pinguecula or are at a higher risk of one by living in a sunny area, it is a great idea to wear UV protective sunglasses. That means you: Austinites, Pflugervillians, Round Rockers, and Cedar Parkans.

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Description automatically generated Associate Optometrist Great Hills Eye Care – Pflugerville & North Austin 

Written by sydney.lehman

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Meet Our Doctors

Dr. Drew Provost

Clinic Director/Founder

Dr. Drew Provost graduated cum laude from Southern College of Optometry and is a therapeutic optometrist, certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Texas Optometry Board.

Dr. Raymond Carneglia

Optometrist

Dr. Carneglia graduated from Nova Southeastern College of Optometry and is certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Texas Optometry Board as a therapeutic optometrist.

Dr. Kelsey Tillotson

Optometrist

Dr. Kelsey Tillotson graduated from the University of Houston School of Optometry and is certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Texas Optometry Board as a therapeutic optometrist.

Dr. Ashish Patel

Optometrist

Dr. Patel graduated from the University of Houston School of Optometry and is certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Texas Optometry Board as a therapeutic optometrist.

Dr. Hiren Patel

Optometrist

Dr. Hiren Patel earned his Bachelor of Science in Human Physiology from the University of Oregon. He then attended the Pacific University, where he obtained his Doctor of Optometry degree.

Dr. Monica Do

Optometrist

Dr. Monica Do graduated from the University of Houston School of Optometry and is certified by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and the Texas Optometry Board as a therapeutic optometrist.

Our Locations

North Austin

Find us conveniently located attached to the Costco just off Research Boulevard. Feel free to park anywhere in the Costco parking lot.

  • 10401 Research Blvd, Suite A
  • Austin, TX 78759

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 PM 4:00 PM

Pflugerville

Our Pflugerville location is attached to the Costco at the corner of Highway 130 and Kelly Lane. Give us a call if you have any trouble finding us.

  • 1901 Kelly Lane, Suite A
  • Pflugerville, TX 78660

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:15 AM 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 12:00 PM 4:00 PM

Georgetown

Find us conveniently located attached to the new Costco just off I-35 . Feel free to park anywhere in the Costco parking lot.

  • 2201 I-35, Ste A
  • Georgetown, TX 78628

Hours of Operation

  • Monday: 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
  • Thursday: 9:00 AM 7:00 PM
  • Friday: 9:00 AM 6:00 PM
  • Saturday: 9:00 AM 5:00 PM
  • Sunday: 11:00 AM 4:00 PM
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