Pterygium

A pterygium is a common sun induced growth affecting both the white and covering over the coloured part of your eye (the cornea).

Pterygiums can cause several problems including:

  • A gritty, sore eye
  • Blurred vision
  • Constantly red eye.
  • A change in your glasses prescription
  • Interference with contact lenses

 

Surgical removal of the pterygium is usually a fairly straight forward operation performed with local anaesthetic and sedation from an anaesthetist. It is performed as day surgery, so you can return home soon after the surgery is finished. The surgery usually takes around 25 minutes to perform. The pterygium is removed and where it is removed from is covered with some of your own conjunctiva taken from the top part of your eye, under your top eyelid. This is referred to as a “conjunctival autograft”. The conjunctiva is the clear membrane covering the white part of your eye. Using a conjunctival autograft has been demonstrated to significantly reduce the risk of the pterygium regrowing, to around 1 in 300.

After the operation the eye is sore and gritty, and can even be painful, for the first few days. Most people are able to return to work within a week following the operation. The area where the pterygium was removed from is red and swollen for several weeks following the surgery however it takes 2 to 3 months for the last bit of redness to disappear. After the surgery has healed the area where the pterygium was removed from usually appears cosmetically normal.