What is Pterygium?

Pterygium most often refers to a benign growth of the conjunctiva. A pterygium commonly grows from the nasal side of the sclera. It is associated with, and thought to be caused by ultraviolet-light exposure (e.g. sunlight), low humidity, and dust.

Symptoms of Pterygium

Symptoms of pterygium include persistent redness, inflammation, foreign body sensation, dry and itchy eyes. In advanced cases the pterygium can affect vision as it invades the cornea with the potential of induced astigmatism and corneal scarring.

How to Prevent Pterygium?

As it is associated with excessive sun or wind exposure, wearing protective sunglasses with side shields and/or wide brimmed hats and using artificial tears throughout the day may help prevent their formation or stop further growth. Surfers and other water-sport athletes should wear eye protection that block 100% of the UV rays from the water, as is often used by snow-sport athletes.

How to Treat Pterygium?

Most small pterygia can be watch and monitored.  If they’re large or creating chronic inflammation, they will be required to be removed.  This can be done with a surgical procedure that removes the affected corneal and conjunctival tissue.  Pterygia have a tendency to recur with just a simple excision.  The rate of recurrence can significantly be reduced if an excision is followed by the placement of a graft.  Prevention from direct, prolonged UV light exposure is the best way to prevent growth or recurrence of a pterygium