Pterygium is a common ocular surface disorder that involves the growth of a non-cancerous, fleshy tissue or a triangular-shaped growth over the cornea (the clear front surface of the eye) or the conjunctiva (the thin, clear tissue that covers the white part of the eye)
The pterygium is not cancerous but consists of fleshy growths over the cornea or conjunctiva (the thin, transparent tissue covering the white of the eye). It is known as a surfer’s eye because it often occurs in people exposed to sunny or windy environments.
There is no definitive explanation for the cause of pterygium. Still, chronic exposure to UV light, wind, and dust is believed to be a contributing factor. People living in tropical or subtropical regions and those with an outdoor activity history, such as farming, fishing, or construction, are more likely to develop Pterygium.
An eye affected by pterygium may experience redness, itching, burning, or irritation. If it grows over the cornea, it can cause blurred vision, double vision, and astigmatism. A severe case may result in vision loss and may require surgery.
Treatment Options for Ptergium
Depending on the severity of the condition, pterygium can be treated in several ways. In mild cases, symptoms can be relieved and inflammation reduced with eye drops or ointments. The growth may need to be surgically removed in more severe cases.
An excision and conjunctival autograft procedure is the most commonly used surgical procedure to treat pterygium. It removes the abnormal tissue and grafts healthy conjunctival tissue to prevent regrowth. Radiation therapy and amniotic membrane transplantation are also surgical options.
It depends on the severity of the condition, the treatment method chosen, and whether the treatment is successful. It is possible to reduce inflammation and symptoms significantly with eye drops and ointments in mild cases. Surgery may be necessary. In most instances, pterygium can be removed surgically with conjunctival autografting, which has a 90% success rate. Despite promising results, studies on the long-term success rates of implantation and radiation therapy are still ongoing.
Women and men can suffer from pterygium but are more likely to have it. A person who spends most of their time outdoors, especially in tropical or subtropical regions, is likelier to develop it. It usually develops in people between 20 and 50 but can occur at any age. Families with a history of pterygium are also at a higher risk of developing it.
Treatment Options For Pterygium
Unless your pterygium causes severe discomfort or blocks your vision, you usually don’t need to treat it. You may need to see your eye doctor periodically to see if the growth affects your vision.
A doctor may prescribe corticosteroid eye drops or ointments if the pterygium is causing a lot of irritation or redness.
Surgery may be recommended if eye drops or ointments don’t relieve your symptoms. Surgery may also be needed if a pterygium causes blurry vision or astigmatism. If you wish to remove the pterygium for cosmetic reasons, you can discuss surgical procedures with your doctor.
What Causes Pterygium?
Pterygium’s exact cause is unknown. UV light exposure can lead to these growths. This condition is more common in people who live in warm climates and spend a lot of time outside in windy or sunny environments. The risk of developing this condition is higher for those who routinely expose their eyes to certain elements like pollen and sand.
What are the symptoms?
There are often no symptoms associated with pterygiums. In most cases, the symptoms are mild. Eye irritation, redness, and blurred vision are common symptoms. A burning or itchiness sensation may also occur. Pterygiums can interfere with your vision if they grow large enough to cover your cornea. Pterygiums that are thick or large can also feel like foreign objects in your eye. When you have a pterygium, you may be unable to wear contact lenses.
How serious is Pterygium?
Scarring on the cornea can result from a pterygium, which is rare. It is important to treat corneal scarring as it can impair vision. Eye drops or ointments are usually used to treat minor inflammations. Surgery can be used to remove a pterygium in more severe cases.