Causes of Pterygium
Studies show that there may also be a genetic predisposition to pterygium, with a higher prevalence occurring in men more than women.
Symptoms of Pterygium
Symptoms of pterygium include:
- Tissue in the inner or outer corner of the eye
- Dry eyes
- Redness of the eye
- Burning of the eye
- Blurry vision
In more severe cases, the pterygium may grow over the pupil and limit vision.
Surgical Treatment of Pterygium
In most mild cases of pterygium, artificial tears can be used to reduce dryness and irritation. For those patients with severe cases of pterygium and whose vision has been affected, different types of surgery are available. Surgery is the only way to definitively remove a pterygium, but it is not a perfect solution; it requires long-term follow-up, and the recurrence rate is between 30 to 40 percent.
Autologous Conjunctival Auto-Grafting
A safe and effective technique to surgically remove a pterygium is autologous conjunctival auto-grafting. The pterygium is removed as well as the tissue covering the conjunctiva. The tissue that is removed from the sclera is replaced by tissue that has been removed from the inside of the patient’s upper eyelid.
Amniotic Membrane Transplantation
Amniotic membrane transplantation is another safe and effective procedure to remove a pterygium. Donor tissue from an inner layer of the human placenta is used to reconstruct the surface of the eye. This type of graft encourages healing and reduces swelling.
Prevention of Pterygium
Sunglasses that block UV rays, particularly sunglasses that provide side coverage, are a good means of protection against pterygium. Wearing a hat with a brim to limit or block sunlight is also helpful. In hot, dry climates, artificial tears should be used to help lubricate the eyes.