A wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva (the surface tissue on the white of the eye) that extends onto the cornea; a pterygium is generally harmless, but it can occasionally become red and inflamed, causing eye irritation. If the pterygium continues to grow over the central cornea it may affect vision or create astigmatism.
Drs. Fagadau, Hawk and Swanson will determine the best treatment depending on the size and extent of the pterygium. They might suggest mild steroid eye drops when it becomes inflamed. With vision loss, or serious discomfort, the pterygium can be surgically removed.
Drs. Fagadau, Hawk and Swanson perform microscopic pterygium removal at Park Central Hospital. During the procedure, the pterygium is dissected, and some of the surface tissue may be removed to prevent regrowth.
It is believed that prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light may contribute to the formation of pterygia, as it is more common in people who live in tropical climates. Doctors Fagadau & Hawk emphasize this is yet another reason to protect your eyes with sunglasses and a hat when in the sun.
Photo courtesy of American Academy of Ophthalmology.