A pterygium is a benign (noncancerous) tissue growth extending from the nasal side of the eye across the sclera towards the cornea. These growths are common among people who spend a lot of time outdoors, particularly in dusty, dry climates.
Recent innovations in pterygium surgery, such as conjunctival autografting and amniotic membrane transplantation, have made the recurrence rate of pterygium extremely low – well below 10%. The eye is anesthetized, the pterygium is removed, basal sclera and tenon’s fascia are gently scraped off. Conjunctiva and amnion are placed over the wound as it heals, and the anti-inflammatory effects of the amniotic membrane allow the eye to heal quickly and effectively.
Frequently Asked Questions about Pterygium
Q: When should I have a pterygium removed?
A This decision rests solely with the patient. If you find pterygium unsightly, we can remove it for aesthetic purposes only. Sometimes, larger pterygia will grow near enough the pupil to occlude vision. Most patients would certainly opt to have their pterygium removed at this point.
Q: Is pterygium removal painful?
A Using local anesthetics, patients generally feel no pain but will feel some pressure and movement during the procedure. Postoperatively it is normal to feel a mild foreign body sensation but pain is rarely associated with this procedure.
Q: Will a pterygium grow back?
A Possibly, but while pterygium surgery has a fair chance of recurrence, our surgical technique lowers the rate of recurrence for pterygium to less than 10%. Should it reoccur, the surgery may be performed again.