What is Pterygium?
A pterygium is a wing-shaped, fleshy growth that appears to be growing on the iris of the eye. It is actually on the exposed surface of the conjunctiva, the membrane which covers the white of the eye and iris. Composed of fat and protein deposits, a pterygium may be yellow, gray, white, reddish or even colorless. It is almost always on the side of the eye closest to the nose. When the lesion is only on the white of the eye, it is known as a pinguecula.
There is no exact known cause for the development of a pterygium, but those most at risk spend a great deal of time outdoors exposed to the sun and to environmental irritants such as dust and wind. Farmers, fishermen, construction workers, golfers and gardeners are among those most susceptible.
A pterygium is completely benign, but it can cause excessive eye irritation. Inflammation, dryness, tearing, redness and a foreign body sensation may all occur. A large pterygium can distort vision by causing astigmatism, and in some cases even block light from entering the eye. Patients often find pterygium to be cosmetically objectionable and are very self conscious about their eye condition.
Pterygium Treatment and Surgery
Treatment varies according to the pterygium size. Artificial tears and eye drops may be used relieve the discomfort. Until recently, surgery was the only way to remove a pterygium, although results haven’t been too encouraging. About 40% of the time, pterygium returns quickly and is larger than before. Today, Yaldo Eye Center offers a remarkable new treatment that consists of injectable drug therapy that can reduce the size of and eliminate a pterygium.
The board-certified ophthalmologists at Yaldo Eye Center can diagnose a pterygium and rule out more serious eye growths during a complete medical eye examination.