What is pterygium?

Pterygium is a triangular layer of fibrovascular tissue, that penetrates the cornea (the clear anterior segment of the eyeball). In its initial stages, some small gray opacity of the cornea is observed, nasally, near the corneal limbus. Subsequently, the conjunctiva covers the opacity and gradually expands over the cornea in a triangular shape. It may be small or can grow substantially enough to obstruct vision.

The exact cause of the pterygium is not yet established. It appears more frequently in people who spend most of their time outdoors, especially in warm climates with a lot of sunshine. Prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially UV rays, as well as chronic irritation of the eye from environmental dryness and increased dust seem to be a significant underlying cause.

How is pterygium treated?

In case the pterygium is irritated and becomes red, drops or ointments can be used locally to reduce the inflammation. Surgical removal is recommended either for cosmetic reasons (if the pterygium is large, expanding or causing deformation) or in cases that its progress threatens the visual axis which would result in decreased vision.

Despite a proper surgical removal, the pterygium may regress, especially in young people. Surface application of radiotherapy or medication can be used to avoid regression. A measure that also helps is protecting the eyes from excessive exposure to UV rays with appropriate glasses and avoiding environments with lots of dust and dryness.

Remember:Your ophthalmologist is the best source for responsible answers on issues related to your eyes and their health. Under no circumstances is information taken from our website intended to replace him. Seek your doctor for complete information.




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