A pterygium is an abnormal wedge shaped growth onto the surface of the cornea (clear window at the front of the eye).
Pterygiums are an eye condition that occur most commonly in people who have significant sun exposure, especially in countries with warm climates like Australia.
Pterygiums may cause redness and irritation or blurred vision. As pterygiums enlarge they may distort the natural curvature of the cornea causing astigmatism that degrades the quality of vision.
Patients may also complain about the appearance of pterygiums, requesting removal for aesthetic reasons.
Small asymptomatic pterygiums can usually be observed and managed conservatively with sun protection and topical lubricating eye drops, or occasionally with topical steroid drops. Larger pterygiums may require surgical removal.
Pterygiums may be quickly and safely removed with pterygium surgery. This involves carefully removing the abnormal tissue from the cornea and ocular surface using microsurgical techniques. A size matched section of normal tissue (conjunctival auto-graft) is then taken from under the eyelid and transplanted into position to minimise the risk of pterygium regrowth. This tissue may be sutured or glued into position.
Pterygium surgery is usually performed with the patient awake under local anaesthesia – minimising the risk of medical complications from anaesthesia.
Post operative steroid drops are usually required for around 4 weeks following surgery.