A pterygium is a non-cancerous dense, fibrous growth on top of the clear, thin membrane over the white part of the eye, called the sclera. They typically grow from one corner of the eye or the other and can occur in both eyes at the same time.
Pterygiums, sometimes called Surfer’s Eye, are caused by overexposure to the earth’s natural elements (sun, dust, and wind) and are more commonly seen in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors. There may be a hereditary component as well, so it is important to be aware of your family’s medical history.
What are the Symptoms of a Pterygium?
Some people with mild Surfer’s Eye don’t experience symptoms or require treatment. But symptoms of a pterygium can include:
- a gritty feeling
- foreign body sensation
- visual disturbances.
If the pterygium invades the cornea, it can distort the shape of the front surface of the eye, causing astigmatism and higher-order aberrations that affect vision.
How Are Pterygiums Treated?
Pterygiums cannot be cured with glasses or contacts. They cannot be eliminated with medication or other methods, although lubricating eye drops can help provide. When they progress to the point that they are bothersome or interfere with vision, they must be surgically removed.
Pterygium surgery is a procedure performed to remove noncancerous conjunctival growths (pterygia) from the eye. Dr. Carter will remove your pterygium at our surgery center with the help of his experienced surgical team.
While there is a possibility of recurrence after the procedure, surgical measures are still the most effective treatment of pterygium. Additionally, Dr. Carter places Mitomycin drops (MMC) into the eye after removing the pterygium. This is to prevent a recurrence.
Either the same day as your surgery or the next day, Dr. Carter will use fibrin glue to adhere to an amniotic graft to help in healing. AmnioGraft is used by eye surgeons around the world as an adjunct therapy to treat ocular surface issues like pterygiums. This approach allows for stitch-free surgery, resulting in quicker and more comfortable healing.
Schedule an appointment with Dr. Carter to discuss your unique situation and symptoms and to learn the best options for the removal of your pterygium.