The eye disease pterygium, more commonly known as surfer’s eye, is a noticeable bump on the surface of the eye. The most common cause of this eye condition is excessive exposure to UV light, which affects not only surfers, but anyone that spends time near the water, or on snow, both of which reflect a large amount of sunlight back towards the eyes.
A new form of treatment for this issue is being tested, and had started out as a drug meant to be used by people with cardiovascular issues. Dipyridamole is most commonly prescribed to patients with angina in an effort to limit the chances of a stroke. But it's been noticed that the same drug offers benefits to people suffering from surfer's eye, as well as dry eye syndrome. It may even help with diabetic retinopathy and ocular hypertension.
“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,” said Moshe Rogosnitzky, director of the Center for Drug Repurposing at Ariel University.
Over-exposure to sunlight is the primary cause of pterygium, but not the only contributing factor. Other irritants, such as dust or dry wind can also cause the condition. Until recently, the only treatment was surgery. The growth are typically non cancerous, so the decision to operate was usually based on how irritating the growth was. Many patients with small growths often chose to live with them, rather than have the surgery