Pterygium Treatment

Options  |  Reasons  |  Procedure  |  Aftercare  |  Benefits  |  Risks  |  Complications

Pterygium treatment options

The treatment recommendation for a pterygium depends on the severity of your condition. To prevent a pterygium from growing, wear sunglasses and/ or a hat outside to protect your eyes from sunlight, wind, and dust.

If you have a mild pterygium, it may not require intervention. Eye drops are an option for treating any redness or irritation experienced with a pterygium. Artificial tears can be used to treat any dryness and grittiness. Anti-inflammatory drops such as topical steroids can be used to treat any redness and inflammation caused by the pterygium.

However, if the pterygium continues to grow, surgery is the only option to remove it. A pterygium will not go away on its own.

Pterygium surgery

There are several reasons you might consider pterygium surgery

These include:

  • Compromised vision
  • To prevent corneal scarring
  • The pterygium is covering your cornea
  • It is cosmetically unacceptable or unappealing
  • Persistent or recurrent redness or irritation despite using drops
  • You have developed astigmatism due to a change in the shape of your cornea

How does pterygium surgery work?

During pterygium surgery, we remove the pterygium using micro-instruments, replacing it with a graft tissue of normal conjunctiva. We usually take this from the area of the eye covered by the eyelid. 

At Oculase, we use glue to keep the graft in place as the healing is generally quicker. Though it can be sewn into place using stitches. Research suggests that using glue may also reduce the risk of recurrence.

During the surgery, we use a local anaesthetic to numb the eye and prevent pain. Though, you can request sedation or general anaesthesia if you prefer. The whole procedure usually takes between 30 to 45 minutes.


After the procedure, you will need to wear an eye shield for a day, possibly two, to protect your eye. We will provide drops and tablets to relieve any soreness and discomfort you may experience after the surgery.

You may experience pain in your eye for a few days and redness for two to three weeks after the procedure. If you are concerned about the level or length of discomfort, you can book a follow-up appointment with one of our ophthalmologists.

You will need to arrange for someone to take you home after, as you won’t be able to drive. You may need to take up to a week off work to recover and rest your eyes, though we will discuss this with you beforehand. We recommend that you don’t swim until you have had your follow up appointment.

Benefits of pterygium surgery

Removing a pterygium prevents further damage to your eye and vision loss caused by the pterygium. 

As the operation only involves the outer layers of the eye, it is quite a safe procedure. Once the redness has eased, the appearance of your eye should also improve.

A pterygium can cause severe discomfort and pain. Once you have recovered from pterygium surgery, you should no longer have eye pain.

As with any surgery, there are some possible risks and side effects.

Risks of pterygium surgery

The main risk of pterygium surgery is that the pterygium may regrow. If this happens, you may need to have it removed again.

Watch Mr Tariq Ayoub explain the risks and side effects of pterygium surgery.

Complications from pterygium surgery are not common. Though, if you need surgery again due to regrowth, you may be more at risk of experiencing complications.

Complications of further surgery include:

  • Vision loss
  • Perforation of the eye
  • Corneal ulceration or infection
  • Muscle damage leading to double vision
  • Additional scarring affecting the appearance of your eye
  • Damage to the internal structures of the eye (very rare)

Before the procedure, we will discuss all the possible risks with you and the likelihood of each so you can make an informed decision.

Why choose Oculase for pterygium treatment?

We perform a complete assessment of your eye health and the pterygium to recommend the most suitable treatment.

At Oculase, we offer private consultations at various locations in London and Birmingham. Our Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon, Mr Tariq Ayoub, prides himself on his patient care and the high quality of his work.

If you are suffering from a painful, irritated eye due to pterygium and want pterygium surgery, book an appointment today.

Pterygium Treatment FAQs

    You can manage the symptoms of pterygium with:

    • Eye drops
    • Artificial tears
    • Anti-inflammatory drops, such as topical steroids

    Though, we can only remove a pterygium with surgery.

    You can both read and watch TV after pterygium surgery. But, you may experience blurry vision for a short time after surgery, which can make this more difficult. 

    You might want to wait until the day after surgery to read or watch TV, so your eyes can rest.

    We recommend waiting 3-5 days after surgery before showering, though bathing is fine. For the first week after surgery, it’s better to avoid wearing makeup.

    Here’s a quick guide to when you can resume specific fitness activities after pterygium surgery:

    • Jogging – 1 week
    • Aerobic exercise – 1 week
    • Yoga/Pilates – 1 week
    • Weight lifting – 2 weeks
    • Sauna/steam room – 1 month
    • Swimming – 1 month
    • Football, non-contact martial arts – 1 month
    • Skiing, tennis, squash, cricket – 3 months
    • Scuba diving >30ft – 3 months

    After pterygium surgery, you should also avoid rubbing or bumping your eye and avoid dry, dusty, and smokey areas.

    Driving can be resumed when the legal standard is met, typically one week after surgery. Mr Ayoub will discuss your circumstances with you during your consultation.

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