What is Pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy growth that invades the cornea (the clear front window of the eye). It is an abnormal process in which the conjunctiva (a membrane that covers the white of the eye) grows into the cornea. Pterygia may be small or grow large enough to interfere with vision. It usually commonly occurs on the inner corner of the eye.

What Causes Pterygium?

The exact cause is not well understood. Pterygium occurs more often in people who spend a great deal of time outdoors, especially in sunny climates. Long-term exposure to sunlight, especially ultra-violet (UV) rays, and chronic eye irritation from dry; dusty conditions seem to play an important causal role.

What do people with Pterygium experience?

A pterygia tends to destabalise the consistency of the eyes tear film. As a result, symptoms include a gritty, irritated eye (particularly in the inner corner of the eye) and assosciated redness. These symptoms tend to be exaggerated in hot, dry, windy conditions.

Treatment Options

In most cases, by limiting the amount of UV light to the eye and keeping the eye-ball moist, a pterygium will remain inactive and will not grow. If it does grow across the eye and is likely to have an impact on the vision, the pterygium can be removed by an ophthalmologist ander local anaesthetic.

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