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What is a Pterygium

What is a Pterygium

Pterygium is a benign growth that grows from the conjunctiva onto the cornea. The conjunctiva or the clear membrane covering the eye typically is clear and doesn’t grow over onto the cornea. Typically there is inflammation and excess redness due to excessive blood vessels and irritation of these tissues. As this abnormal tissue grows further onto the cornea, it causes scarring and distortion of the clear cornea, which can affect vision the closer it gets to the pupil.
In mild cases conservative management may be adequate with lubricant eye drops. As redness, irritation and blurred vision become more frequent, surgery may be considered.

Causes of Pterygium

Exposure to sunlight or UV radiation is the most common cause of these growths. Other risk factors include wind exposure such as sailors and surfers, pollution, smoke and dust. Typically it is a combination of factors with sun exposure the predominant risk factor.

Treating Pterygium

A pterygium requires surgical excision from the surface of the cornea and the sclera, which is the white of the eye. There are multiple ways to perform the surgery. However to decrease the recurrence rate of a pterygium, a conjucntival autograft or amniotic membrane must be used. This tissue is glued into place for optimum healing and results. With this modern technique of pterygium surgery, recurrence of the pterygium is rare.

Preventing Pterygium

Wear UV blocking sunglasses at all times when outdoors and in sunny conditions. This will prevent the UV light from coming in contact with the conjunctiva and prevent the abnormal growth from developing. Wearing a hat which offers enough courage with also be sufficient.

Contact Socal Vision Center

Please click here or call 818-409-1777 with any questions you may have about intraocular lens options, or to schedule your consultation with our surgeon.