Pterygium

What is Pterygium?

A pterygium is a type of growth that develops on the clear, outer layer of the eye called the conjunctiva. A pterygium typically grows from the inside corner of the eye and may be pink, white, or yellowish in color. Pterygium growths are non-cancerous and may begin as a smaller type of growth called a pinguecula. The eye doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton are experienced in diagnosing and treating pinguecula and pterygium.

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Pterygium Symptoms

In early stages, pterygium symptoms may be mild. However, if a pterygium extends to the cornea and grows over the pupil, it can impede vision. Symptoms may include:

Pterygium Causes

Pterygium may be caused by a variety of factors, including environment and genetic predisposition. Consistent UV light exposure is considered to be a major risk factor, and patients who are male and have dry eyes may be at higher risk.1 Pterygium is sometimes called an eye web or a surfer’s cataract because it can develop as a result of extensive UV exposure that may occur during water sport activities. You can reduce your risk of pterygium by wearing sun protection, including UV protective sunglasses in a wraparound style, and keeping your eyes lubricated.

Pterygium Treatment

If you are diagnosed with a pterygium that is mild, you may be able to manage symptoms with lubricating eye drops. However, if a pterygium grows to cause more severe symptoms, surgical treatment may be recommended. Surgery is the only way to remove a pterygium. The most common method of surgical removal involves a technique called autologous conjunctival auto-grafting. In this procedure, your eye surgeon will carefully remove the pterygium and then cover the area with a small section of tissue that is harvested from a normal area of conjunctiva. This method reduces the likelihood that the pterygium will grow back.2

Contact CVP Physicians Dayton

The team at CVP Physicians Dayton is committed to providing comprehensive eye care for patients in Dayton, Springboro and the surrounding areas. Our experienced ophthalmologists are here to answer any questions you have about pterygium or other eye conditions. Contact us today to schedule a consultation appointment.

1 Singh SK. Pterygium: epidemiology prevention and treatment. Community Eye Health. 2017;30(99):S5‐S6.
2 American Academy of Ophthalmology. Pinguecula and Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye) Treatment. Available: https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/pinguecula-pterygium-diagnosis-treatment Accessed June 4, 2020.

The doctors at CVP Physicians Dayton have either authored or reviewed the content on this site.

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