A pterygium is a fleshy triangular growth of tissue that grows from the conjunctiva over the cornea (the clear part of the eye). This growth is non-cancerous, and is usually on the inner corner of the eye. Sometimes, it grows big enough that it distorts the corneal surface, creating astigmatism and interfering with vision.
Symptoms of a pterygium:
(These symptoms may be due to other eye conditions than a pterygium. See your eye doctor if you experience any of these symptoms.)
- Tissue growing over the eye
- Foreign body sensation in the eye
- Blurred Vision
Causes of a pterygium:
The exact cause of pterygia isn’t known, but it’s thought to be linked to:
- Excessive exposure to sunlight over years or in previous years
- Excessive exposure to allergens such as industrial chemicals
- Dry, dusty conditions
- Age: Ptergia is typically found in adults over the age of 30.
You will most likely notice a pterygium in the mirror if it becomes large enough to cause problems. The eye doctors at Tylock Eye Care can also diagnose it during a routine eye exam.
Treatment of a pterygium:
Eye drops or ointment can be used to minimize the irritation caused by a pterygium. If the pterygium is very large or causing a lot of symptoms, it may need to be removed surgically. Because pterygiums can come back, there has been a lot of research done into how to minimize the chances of recurrence. Your surgeon should discuss the options of removal with you and be comfortable performing the procedure in different ways (use of autologous conjunctival grafts, amniotic membrane grafts, mitomycin C, etc) because the procedure is best done when tailored to the patient as an individual. Following surgery, it’s a good idea to protect your eyes with sunglasses if you’ll be in the sun or a dusty, dry environment.