Kickstart Monday: Pterys, Sunglasses With a Cause

If you’ve never heard of pterygium, then we’re about to teach you something, dear reader.

Pterygium (pronounced terry-gee-um), also known as “Surfer’s Eye”, is a fleshy growth occurring on the whites of the eye and is much more common than people think. 1 out of 4 adults living in tropical regions actually have it! It causes symptoms of irritation, redness, watery-eyes, and can even impair vision if it becomes severe enough. It’s like having sand in your eyes all day, every day.


Pterygium is caused by UV-light, wind, and dust – all things that are extremely common in tropical regions such as Haiti. Most patients abroad are given eye drops for this condition, but eyedrops only temporarily treat the symptoms and pterygium remains problematic.

Kind of painful sounding, but pretty common.

And that’s what spurred Pterys cofounder, Sagar Patel, to explore solutions after he’d spent time in Haiti, where he was astonished to learn how prevalent the issue is there.

The best approach is prevention, and Sagar and his team set out to design sunglasses that not only look super cool, but they block UV rays. And they float!

The Pterys team is based in Dallas, and through their Indiegogo campaign, they hope to raise awareness about pterygium.

Not only that, they’re donating 10% of all sales to the Hope Alliance, a “non-profit organization working in Haiti, Peru, and Guatemala to provide Pterygium prevention education and protective eyewear.”

Learn more about the project and Pterys by visiting their Indiegogo page!

Rachel Winstead

Rachel is a freelance writer and works at Soap Hope in downtown Dallas. She hates the term "disrupt," tweets about startups, and appreciates a well-crafted hashtag.