A pterygium is an abnormal non-cancerous growth of tissue that grows across the front of the eye usually from the inner corner. It usually grows in response to exposure to sun, windy, dusty or sandy environments or chronic dry eye.
A pterygium is usually painless but can sometimes become inflamed causing redness, itchy, burning and mild eye pain. Often these symptoms can be treated with lubricants and anti-inflammatory drops.
In response to exposure to wind or sun or on some occasions it may simply be a chronic dry eye, the inflamed conjunctiva gradually grows across the surface of the eye.
When a pterygium is inflamed it is red and painful and quite obvious cosmetically. Often this inflammation can be treated with lubricants and/or anti-inflammatory drops as well as avoidance of any precipitating environmental factors.
In some circumstances, simple treatment with drops proves ineffective and surgery may be considered. Surgery may also be considered when the pterygium has grown sufficiently across the eye to interfere with vision or if it is cosmetically unacceptable.
Surgery to remove a pterygium is performed under local anaesthesia in the operating theatre. The procedure involves removing the excess tissue and covering the bare area with a conjunctival graft, usually taken from under the eyelid. A conjunctival graft is used to reduce the chance of recurrence. It is usually glued into position and minimal stitches are required.
After surgery, the eye is usually red in appearance. Any discomfort is minimised by the use of eye drops and tablets such as Panadol. It is recommended that you do not drive or work for 4 days after pterygium surgery.
After surgery, the eye is red in appearance. Any discomfort is minimised by the use of eye drops and the use of tablets such as Panadol. Driving and work at your place of employment is not advisable for 3-4 days. It is also advised to wear sunglasses outdoors after the surgery to help minimise the chances of recurrence. These sunglasses should preferably be of the wrap around style.