What is a Pterygium?
Pterygium is a raised, wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the white of the eye. It is most common among patients who live in tropical climates or spend a lot of time in the sun.
What are the Symptoms?
Symptoms may include irritation, redness, and tearing. Pterygia are nourished by tiny capillaries that supply blood to the tissue. For some, the growth remains dormant; however, in other cases it grows over the central cornea and affects the vision. As the pterygium develops, it may alter the shape of the cornea, causing astigmatism.
What are the Treatment Options?
Since pterygia are most commonly caused by sun exposure, protecting the eyes from sun, dust, and wind is recommended. Instilling artificial tears liberally is also helpful to decrease irritation. In some cases, steroid drops are prescribed to reduce inflammation.
If the pterygium is causing irritation or inducing astigmatism it can be surgically removed. The surgery is called a Pterygiectomy and is performed in the Operating suite. The biggest risk of the surgery is regrowth of the Pterygium. To reduce the risk of regrowth, normal conjunctival tissue is transplanted in the area where the Pterygium was located.
Our practice offers no-stitch Pterygiectomy. In the past, this transplanted tissue was held in place with small sutures. Our practice was one of the first in the area to use Tissue glue instead of sutures. This reduces irritation after surgery and speeds the healing process.