What is Pterygium?
Pterygium is a common condition that can affect people who spend a lot of time outdoors, overexposed to the sun and other environments. Pterygium can affect anyone who does not use proper eye protection to protect them from outdoor elements.
Pterygium is also known as the “Surfer’s Eye” and is a non-cancerous fleshy growth of tissue that may appear red and uncomfortable. The growth can progress as we age and change size and appearance. This abnormal tissue growth can lead to dry eyes, irritation and vision problems which sometimes can be confused with other age-related visual deteriorations like cataracts.
Pterygium usually starts growing over the inner corner of the eye toward the cornea (center of eye). One or both eyes may be affected and a patient can have more than one pterygium in each eye. In advanced cases, the pterygium can continue to grow over the pupil and start to interfere with your vision.
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Pterygium may be caused by overexposure to ultraviolet light (i.e., sunlight). Pterygium is more common in people who:
- Spend a great deal of time outdoors exposed to overly sunny or windy climates
- Are chronically exposed to environments with sand or dust without eye protection
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Symptoms of Pterygium
Pterygium can be painful or uncomfortable at different stages. While the fleshy tissue is often red and/or irritated, some patients with pterygium may sometimes not report any symptoms associated with their condition other than appearance. However, in some advanced cases, the pterygium may cause inflammation, burning and/or redness and the pterygium can grow progressively toward the cornea. This may cause distortion in the shape of the cornea and a condition called astigmatism that affects your vision.
It is more common to see pterygium condition in adults between 20 and 40 years of age, and usually in more men than in women.
Pterygium symptoms can include:
- A reddish growth on the surface of your eye
- Burning sensation
- A sensation that there is something in your eye
- Over tearing of eyes
- Red, irritated eyes
- Dry eye
- Blurry vision
Pterygium Removal Surgery
Dr. Moadel and his staff at New York Eye Specialists perform an advanced pterygium removal surgery using a graft procedure to cover the affected area after removal and to help limit the chances of regrowth. This advanced method of treatment has better success rates compared to other conventional surgical methods.
The outpatient procedure includes the use of local anesthetic drops to numb your eye and most patients experience mild sensitivity or discomfort after the procedure, which can typically vary from the first few hours to one week. Patients can generally resume most daily activities within the first week.
Pterygium removal surgery is a medical procedure and isn’t right for everyone. Talk to your surgeon and consider both risks and benefits before having your procedure. Additional information can be found on our website. Candidacy determined by an independent doctor located within the New York Eye Specialists’ facility. All procedures performed by an independent surgeon. Individual results vary.