Common Pterygium Questions
What is a pterygium?
A pterygium is a benign growth on the cornea that’s usually wing-shaped. Usually, a pterygium doesn’t cause serious symptoms or vision damage. But it does affect the appearance of your eye.
Pterygia can grow quite large in some cases and might eventually grow over a significant part of your eye. If that happens, you could experience astigmatism, which causes blurry vision, along with serious eye inflammation and irritation.
Pterygia are usually caused by environmental exposure, particularly exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light and wind. They’re most common in warm climates like Florida, and in general the closer you are to the equator the higher your chances of developing a pterygium.
How is a pterygium treated?
Initial treatment of a mild pterygium typically includes using artificial tears to minimize eye irritation. Some patients need steroid eye drops to control inflammation and redness.
Your Cohen Laser & Vision Center ophthalmologist also recommends lifestyle changes like always wearing sunglasses and avoiding sun exposure during the hottest part of the day to prevent recurring pterygia.
If these noninvasive measures aren’t successful, or if your pterygium causes eye problems like astigmatism, pterygium surgery to remove the growth is typically the best solution.
What is pterygium surgery?
Pterygium surgery is an outpatient procedure that removes the pterygium. Your Cohen Laser & Vision Center ophthalmologist is a medical doctor with extensive experience in corneal surgeries of this type. The surgery takes about 45 minutes. You can return home shortly afterward.
Following your pterygium surgery, you’ll use steroid eye drops for 2-3 months. Your ophthalmologist uses advanced surgical techniques designed to fully remove the pterygium while minimizing the chance of corneal scarring and pterygium regrowth.
Pterygia have a recurrence rate of 1-50%, so it’s absolutely vital that you wear sunglasses and avoid the sun when possible after your pterygium surgery. If you’re vigilant about environmental exposure and follow all of your ophthalmologist’s recovery guidelines closely, you have the very best chance of long-lasting results.
If you have a pterygium that’s causing lingering issues, whether it’s embarrassment or a functional eye problem like astigmatism, pterygium surgery could be the answer. Talk to an expert ophthalmologist at Cohen Laser & Vision Center to find out how this surgery can help you. Book online or by calling the office today.
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