Pterygium surgery

We have all heard about laser eye surgery for people who want to improve their vision, but for most people, that type of surgical procedure is merely cosmetic. While yes, it does change their quality of life, it is not necessary for them to go on living, especially when other – less expensive and invasive options such as glasses and contact lenses – are available. But what we hear about less are the eye surgeries that are necessary. And one of those eye surgeries is pterygium surgery.

A pterygium is a benign growth that sprouts up on the conjunctiva part of the eye. It commonly grows from the nasal side of the eye. While scientists are not certain what causes a pterygium, the growth is thought to perhaps stem from too much exposure to ultraviolet light (i.e. sunlight or light from a tanning bed or sun lamp), living in an area with low humidity, or being exposed to large amounts of dust. Other theories hold that pterygium are caused by a genetic predisposition to the condition. If someone in your family has already suffered from a pterygium, there are steps you can take for prevention, including wearing protective sunglasses when out in the sun, sand, dust or wind. Professional athletes should always wear eye gear that protects them from UV rays reflecting off the water, as well.

If a doctor were to look at pterygium on an eye, he or she might see a small growth characterized by a head and a neck. Often, a line of iron deposits can be viewed near the head of the pterygium. This line of iron deposits is called Stocker’s line and shows doctors how the pterygium originally grew. As mentioned before, a pterygium on the eye generally grows from the direction of the nasal passages. Pterygiums can be removed with pterygium surgery.

Because pterygium occur in very sunny, dusty or windy areas, they are most often found in people who dwell near the equator or in windy locations, such as deserts. For a reason unexplained by science to this date, pterygium are twice as likely to occur in men than in women.

If you are suffering from a pterygium, your symptoms may include persistent redness, inflammation, the sensation of a foreign body in the eye, and dry and itchy eyes. If pterygium is allowed to advance, it can invade the cornea and cause astigmatism or corneal scarring.

A doctor will most likely treat a pterygium with radiation or pterygium surgery. Benign growths are generally not treated with pterygium surgery unless it grows so large that it covers the pupil and interferes with the patient’s vision or causes pain. Even then, eye drops or artificial tears can be used to address some of the symptoms related to dryness, itchiness and redness.

The only way to definitively rid the body of a pterygium growth is through pterygium surgery. Even after pterygium surgery, though, the growths can recur and have to be treated or removed again. If the pterygium recurs or appears to be threatening a sufferer’s vision or quality of life, physicians might prescribe a treatment called strontium plaque therapy. Strontium plaque therapy is a type of radioactive substance that penetrates a very short distance inside the cornea in order to suppress the growth of the pterygium. This pterygium surgery only requires local anesthetic and is often performed on the same day as the day the pterygium removal surgery is performed.

If you feel a foreign body in the eye, or feel that your eyes are red, itchy and inflamed, visit your physician or eye doctor immediately for more information on pterygium, especially if you live near the equator or in a dry, non-humid and windy place.

Last updated on Sep 26th, 2010 and filed under Vision Care. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses for “Pterygium surgery”

  1. dave says:

    Does laser surgery exist for pterygium removal?

  2. diala says:


    do you have any professional doctor for pterygium surgery removal in Lebanon?
    my husband have already done this surgery one year ago but it returns back and his eye is red irritated and teary always. pls advise.


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