A Pterygium is a benign fleshy growth from the conjunctiva across the surface of the eye. Pterygium may occur in one or both eyes.
The cause is not well understood but is well known to be more common in people living near the equator and seems to be associated with exposure to UV light as well as dry/dusty/windy conditions.
Pterygia are often asymptomatic but on occasion may cause redness, discomfort, grittiness and may grow so far across the eye that they can disturb the visual axis either by direct growth or by disruption of the tear film of the visual axis and subsequent astigmatism.
The indications for requiring surgery are:
- Ocular irritation sufficient to warrant surgery
- Induced astigmatism
- Documented growth that may threaten vision
Not all patients will have symptoms and smaller, non progressive Pterygia can be serially monitored. For these cases we recommend wearing sunglasses and regular lubrication.