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Pterygium

Pterygium and Pinguecula are abnormal growths on the surface of the eye. While most are merely cosmetic imperfections, some Pterygium can interfere with vision.

What is a Pterygium?
A Pterygium is an elevated growth on the cornea. It is an elastic, connective tissue that begins in the inner corner of the eye, and extends toward the center of the eye. It is a result of a process in which the conjunctiva grows into the cornea.

What Causes a Pterygium?
Why Pterygium occurs is not totally understood. Long term exposure to sunlight and dry environmental conditions seem to contribute to their development. They appear to develop more often in people who spend a lot of time outdoors. Exposures to sun, wind, dust and or harsh climates are frequently linked to Pterygium. They are also found more often in men than women.

What are the Symptoms of a Pterygium?

  • Symptoms may include blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Eye irritation.
  • Most complaints associated with Pterygium are itching, burning and scratchiness.

While the Pterygium is growing, it becomes swollen and red. This growth process is slow, and usually stabilizes without causing problems. Although the symptoms are not severe, growth over any part of the center of the cornea may cause vision loss.

How is a Pterygium treated?
If the Pterygium does not cause any noticeable symptoms, treatment is not necessary. While it is red and swollen, eye drops and ointments can be used to relieve dryness and inflammation.

Once the Pterygium begins to threaten vision, it can be removed surgically. Surgery can also be performed for cosmetic reasons. However, Pterygium has a tendency to return, especially in younger people. At times, dryness and irritation persists even after removal. Radiation and topical medications can be used to prevent recurrence.