A pterygium is a fleshy growth that invades the cornea (the clear front window of the eye). It is an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva (a membrane that covers the white of the eye) grows into the cornea. Pterygia may be small or grow large enough to interfere with vision. It commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye.

What causes Pterygium?

The exact cause is not well understood. Pterygium occurs more often in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultra-violet (UV) rays, and chronic eye irritation from dry; dusty conditions seem to play an important causal role.

Pterygium Treatment

When a pterygium becomes red and irritated, topical eye-drops or ointment may be used to help reduce the inflammation. If the pterygium is large enough to threaten sight, is growing or is unsightly, it can be removed surgically.

Despite proper surgical removal, the pterygium may return, particularly in young people. Conjunctival graft to the site is used to decrease recurrence. Topical medications are sometimes also used to help prevent recurrences. Protecting the eyes from excessive ultraviolet light with proper sunglasses and avoiding dry, dusty conditions may also help.

FAQ’s About Pterygium

  • What will my eye feel like after surgery?

    Your eye will probably be irritable / uncomfortable the day of the surgery.  Panadol / Panadeine is recommended for this.
  • What happens after the surgery?

    You will have the eye padded, and you will need to use drops for about 2 months afterwards to help the eye to heal and to help prevent recurrence.
  • Is there anything I should avoid doing after surgery?

    You should avoid activities such as gardening or mowing which may cause dirt or dust to enter your eye.  You should not go swimming until advised to by your eye doctor.

    Since you have had sedation don’t drive a vehicle or sign legal documents for 24 hours following the procedure.


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