What is Pterygium?

Pterygium is a pink, fleshy bump that grows on the white of the eye, which can eventually  grow over the cornea and obstruct vision. People who spend a great deal of time outside, especially on the water, are more likely to be diagnosed with pterygium. Spending time on the water can result in the sun’s UV rays bouncing back onto your eyes, which increases the longer you stay outside in bright sunlight. Although pterygia are benign, they can impact your vision and become irritating.

Pterygium Symptoms

A pterygium will often show up on the side of the eye that is closest to the nose. Before growing large enough to be seen, those with a pterygium often complain that they feel like there is something in their eye, like a piece of dirt. Patients who already suffer from dry eye may develop a pterygium as well.
Pterygium Example

Pterygium Treatments

Depending on the kind of pterygium you have, there are a few treatment options available. For a small pterygium, your doctor will likely prescribe steroid eye drops or lubricants. These are prescribed to help reduce redness, as well as swelling and irritation. A larger pterygium that is significantly affecting your vision will likely require surgery to remove it.

After having a pterygium removed, it can return. This is more common if you have continued UV exposure around your eyes. To prevent regrowth, your eye surgeon may decide to use a method called autologous conjunctival autografting. This means that your eye surgeon will suture or glue a piece of eye tissue onto the affected area where the pterygium was located. This is one way of preventing regrowth and recurrence of a pterygium.

If you’re suffering from the effects of a pterygium and would like a professional opinion, please contact our office. We’re happy to set you up with a consultation and help you find out what the best treatment options for your pterygium are.