Pterygium Removal: What to Expect from This Eye Surgery By Eric Del Piero on March 17, 2018

Cleaning the upper eyelidA pterygium is a triangle-shaped lump of tissue that grows from the conjunctiva to the cornea. (The conjunctiva is the thin membrane that covers the white part of the eye. The cornea is the clear, frontal part of the eye.) This growth can potentially impact your vision quality. Pterygiums may develop in one eye or in both eyes. They are more like to develop on the side of the eye close to the nose.

If you develop a pterygium, our Monterey, CA vision doctors can help. We offer cosmetic eye procedures and simple eye surgeries that can address these kinds of issues. Let’s explore the treatment options for pterygiums below.

What Causes Pterygiums?

The exact cause or causes of pterygiums have yet to be fully understood. They are more prevalent among people who are out in the sun a lot or live in arid environments. The gradual exposure of the eyes to the ultraviolet rays of the sun are considered a major factor in these sorts of growths.

Do Pterygiums Need to Be Removed?

Pterygiums do not always need to be removed. For some patients, wearing sunglasses or a hat with a brim is sufficient enough to keep the tissue growth under control. Eye irritation and discomfort caused by the pterygium can be managed using eye drops or certain kinds of medications recommended by your eye doctor.

If the pterygium has a negative impact on your vision quality or causes pain and significant irritation, surgical treatment will be recommended.

The Risks of Pterygium Removal

While most pterygium surgeries are simple and performed without incident, there is a slight risk of infection, double vision, prolonged redness of the eye, and excessive swelling. Proper pre-op and post-op care can help minimize the risk of these issues.

We should also note that it’s possible for a pterygium to grow back, even after a successful surgery. Recurrent pterygiums affects less than 5 percent of patients who experience the tissue growth in the first place. Given this fact, surgery plus proper preventive care will need to be followed to slow the reappearance of a pterygium.

The Surgical Procedure

Patients will be lightly sedated and given local anesthetic in order to reduce anxiety and eliminate pain. The pterygium is carefully peeled and removed from the eye. To help prevent regrowth, the surgeon will take a tissue graft from beneath the upper eyelid and place that over the site where the pterygium grew. A surgical glue is used instead of sutures to hold the graft in place.

The entire surgical procedure takes no more than 30 minutes. After surgery, patients are likely to experience pain and discomfort that lasts for a few days. Redness of the eye may last for several weeks while you heal. Be sure to attend follow-up visits with your eye surgeon to make sure you are recovering properly.

The Results of Pterygium Removal Surgery

Thanks to pterygium removal surgery, patients are able to experience a normal eye appearance and improved vision. With proper attention paid to eye protection and avoiding the harmful rays of the sun, the already low chances of a pterygium regrowth can be significantly reduced.

Learn More About Pterygium Removal

For more information about pterygium removal surgery and whether or not it’s right for you, be sure to contact our team of eye care specialists today. We at Monterey County Eye Associates will provide you with the information you need to have healthy vision.

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The team of doctors at Monterey County Eye Associates

Monterey County Eye Associates
Monterey Bay Eye Center

Our team of ophthalmologists provides state-of-the-art eye care using the latest technology. They are proud to be affiliated with: 

  • AAO: American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • ABO: American Board of Ophthalmology

To schedule an appointment at one of our four ophthalmologist office locations in Monterey, Salinas, and King City, contact us online or call (831) 375-2020.

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