A normal human eye is covered to a large degree by a clear, vascular tissue called conjunctiva. That tissue is usually transparent and covers a white part of the eye (called sclera). When conjunctiva starts growing onto the cornea (a clear dome like tissue over the colored part of the eye), such an abnormal growth is called Pterygium.
What causes Pterygium?
Pterygium is caused by excessive sun light exposure. It is more common in people who grew up in countries closer to Equator or spend a lot of time outside either for work or pleasure.
What are Pterygium symptoms and signs?
The most common symptoms include: irritation, burning, foreign body sensation, tearing and light sensitivity. In severe cases blurred, double or partial loss of vision can occur. These symptoms are usually associated with signs of eye redness (blood-shot eyes), white/yellow/pink “spots” or elevations most commonly in the nasal sides of the sclera and cornea.
How is Pterygium diagnosed?
A slit lamp eye examination can detect its presence. Corneal mapping can document the extent of the pterygium’s growth.
What are Pterygium treatment options?
If the pterygium is very mild, frequent lubrication might be sufficient. If the pterygium is moderate or severe, and especially if it is progressively growing, it should be surgically removed before it can permanently scar the cornea and reduce vision.
Successful surgical techniques include Stich-less Pterygium Excision with Autologous Conjunctival Graft or Stich-less Pterygium Excision with Amniotic Membrane Graft (tissue sparing procedure). State of the art procedures are often stich-less and utilize tissue glue instead of suture materials.