Pterygium – 結膜翼狀胬肉

What is a pterygium?

A pterygium is a benign or non-cancerous overgrowth of the conjunctiva, which is a clear, thin layer that covers the white part of the eye (sclera). Pterygium may occur in one or both eyes. This condition may cause extreme eye discomfort including, burning, irritation, redness, tearing, foreign body sensation and blurred vision(astigmatism). If the growth becomes large enough, it may begin to inhibit vision.

What are the causes of pterygium?

The exact cause is unknown, but it occurs quite commonly in Australia and is known to be associated with sun exposure and exposure to dry dusty conditions. People who spend considerable time in the sun such as farmers, fishermen and people living near the equator are more likely to develop pterygium.

What are the typical symptoms of a pterygium?

This condition may cause extreme eye discomfort including, burning, irritation, redness, tearing, foreign body sensation and blurred vision(astigmatism). If the growth becomes large enough, it may begin to inhibit vision.

What is the best treatment for pterygium?

You will need a to be examined in order to diagnose and assess the severity of the pterygium. Treatment depends on the size and extent of the pterygium. In the early stages treatment with drops is helpful, and avoidance of exposure to sunlight and dry dusty conditions. When there is rapid growth of the pterygium or vision is threatened, your ophthalmologist may recommend surgical removal of the tissue. The latest advancement in pterygium surgery is “Sutureless Pterygium Excision and Conjunctival Autograft”. During the procedure, the pterygium is excised and the gap in the conjunctiva left by the removal of the pterygium is filled with a conjunctival tissue graft, which is held in place with a special glue. This graft acts as a barrier to recurrence, however there is still a 5% chance of recurrence all going well in place.                               

What happens during the recovery period following pterygium surgery?

Following surgery, you may have soreness and irritation in your eye for the first 24 hours. You will need to use eye drops for several months. You may have redness of the eye which usually resolves over a few weeks. You can return to your normal activities within 1 or 2 weeks after surgery. In order to reduce the risk of recurrence, you will need to wear sunglasses all the time when you are outdoors.