A Pterygium is a fibrovascular, benign growth on the front surface of eye. It is thought to occur from long term sun exposure (especially if this occurred during childhood), and very occasionally causes significant visual loss.
Pterygium is usually harmless, but may cause discomfort and occasionally eyedrops may help with keeping the area moist but no eyedrop is able to remove the Pterygium.
Surgical removal is certainly possible, and effective. It is usually performed due to cosmetic reasons, or if the pterygium is causing discomfort, or disturbing vision.
Our surgeons always use a graft during surgery to significantly reduce the chances of recurrence after surgery, and are performed under topical anaesthetic (eyedrops only) - no injections needed. Surgery takes approximately 30-40 minutes, and our surgeons use techniques such as amniotic membrane or auto-grafting, with adhesive glue or absorbable sutures. Each treatment is tailored to give you the very best results, with restoration of a white, comfortable eye.
Recovery from pterygium surgery doesn't take too long and after wearing a dressing or eye patch for a couple of days the patient can resume most activities. Following the surgery it is also likely that some steroid eye drops will be prescribed. This is to prevent a recurrence of the problem and also to reduce inflammation. Patients undergoing pterygium surgery will need to be closely monitored afterwards for up to 12 months post treatment. Due to the high chance of recurrence during the first year after surgery this regular checking could pick up on any problems quickly.
The ophthalmic surgeons at our clinic will be able to determine the frequency of checks on a patient by patient basis. We are experienced in all areas of eye health and we can provide a thorough eye health check to identify any appropriate treatment that might be required.
Pterygium can be prevented by wearing sunglasses daily when outdoors. This could protect eyes from damaging ultra violet light even on cloudy days. It is also a good idea to keep eyes moist, especially in dry conditions and use eye protection like sunglasses when driving or when outdoors from sunlight, dust and dirt.