Pterygium: Symptoms,

Causes & Treatment


What is a Pterygium?

A pterygium is a raised, triangular or wedge-shaped, harmless growth of tissue on the white of the eye (sclera). It usually occurs on the side of your eye nearest your nose.

A pterygium can continue to grow over the cornea (clear window at the front of the eye) in a
triangular fashion. It may grow large enough to affect your vision (eyesight).

What causes a Pterygium?

A pterygium usually develops if you have been living in a hot, dry climate.

It is thought to be a response to long-term sunlight exposure and chronic irritation from the dry climate.

What are the symptoms of a pterygium?

A pterygium can cause grittiness, itchiness, burning, irritation, redness and tearing.

As it grows, it may alter the shape of the cornea resulting in astigmatism which can alter your eye’s focus.

If the pterygium continues to grow towards the centre of the cornea it can affect your vision.

How is a pterygium treated?

Treatment depends on the symptoms.

If the pterygium is small and/or growing, eye-drops may be used to relieve any redness or irritation.

Surgical removal of a pterygium is performed:
– if there is persistent or recurrent redness or irritation despite using drops
– if it alters the shape of the cornea and/or affects vision
– if it is cosmetically unappealing

    The pterygium is removed using micro-instruments and the defect created is then filled with a graft tissue of normal conjunctiva. This is usually harvested from the area of the eye covered by the eyelid. The graft is either glued or sewn into place using stitches.

    At Oculase, we use glue as the healing is generally quicker.

    The surgery is generally pain free as local anaesthesia is used during the surgery to numb the eye. You also have the option of having sedation or general anaesthesia if you prefer.

    You will be given drops and tablets to alleviate any soreness and discomfort you may experience after the surgery.

    The main risk is that the pterygium may regrow. This happens in 1 in 10 people who have the surgery. If this happens you may need to have it removed again.

    Other risks include a risk of infection and scarring to your eye.

    Sometimes your glasses prescription may change after the surgery.

    You will notice your eyes are red and sore for a few days after surgery.

During your consultation, you will have a complete assessment of your eye including the extent of the pterygium. You may also have scans done to determine the depth of the pterygium and its affect on the shape of your eyeball. Depending on the results of assessment, Mr. Ayoub will discuss the best treatment option for you.

0330 128 1616

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