A pterygium (pronounced “ter-ij-ee-um”) is a wing shaped over growth of tissue across the cornea, which is the clear window at the front of the eye. It is not a cancer, but may slowly get larger with time.
It is a common condition found in hot and dusty environments, such as Sub Saharan Africa and Australia. It is especially prevalent in people who love to live or work outdoors. The cause of a pterygium is currently unknown, but many factors play a role.
Usually vision is not affected, unless the Pterygium is advanced.
The eye may feel uncomfortable and look slightly red in the early stages, and this may become more pronounced in dry and smoky conditions.
If a pterygium grows, it may blur vision and even obstruct light from entering the eye in extreme cases. This would be an indication for surgery.
If the pterygium is small, no treatment is required.
An uncomfortable eye, may be treated using lubricating drops and / or ointment.
If the pterygium is large and uncomfortable, or advances until it is at the edge of the pupil, or interferes with your vision, it is best to have it surgically removed.
Dr. Burger will discuss the various options regarding surgery at your eye visit.