What Is A Pterygium?
A pterygium is a raised, wedge-shaped growth of the conjunctiva (the clear mucous membrane lining the inner eyelids and the sclera) that extends onto the cornea. A pterygium is made up of collagen and tissue from the conjunctiva. Typically they are located on the inner or medial part of the eye.
You can find Pterygia, which are benign lesions on either side of the cornea, that may be caused by prolonged exposure to sunlight or wind. Inflammation, exposure to dust, and dryness may also be a factor. They usually cause irritation, redness, and foreign body sensation.
Sometimes they grow and cause decreased or distorted vision. They can affect both eyes, and once the growth is large enough to affect your vision, we may recommend pterygium surgery to remove the growth.
Pterygium Removal Surgery
In pterygium removal surgery, the patient is lightly sedated to ensure comfort. The eye is completely numbed, so there is no way to see the surgery occurring and no sensation of discomfort. The abnormal corneal and conjunctival tissue is removed and replaced with a thin graft of normal tissue. Over the next 3-4 weeks, the eye gradually returns to a normal appearance.
Pterygium surgery is made possible by the use of modern tissue adhesive. Composed of clotting proteins normally found in human blood, tissue adhesive allows the surgeon to secure a conjunctival autograft in seconds rather than minutes. After about one week, the tissue adhesive dissolves with no residue, leaving the eye to heal comfortably.
Pterygium Post-operative Instructions
Generally, it is safe for you to gradually resume regular activities after the first week, remembering to avoid unnecessary irritation.
Following surgery, your eye will appear very red and may feel gritty for several weeks. These after-effects will subside gradually as healing progresses. You may also experience a vision change, depending upon the size and location of the pterygium.
Be sure to follow all post-operative instructions properly to ensure you have a speedy and smooth recovery.
If you have any concerns, you can call the office during office hours at 403-245-3171, or contact us through our website for less urgent concerns here.