A pterygium is a winged-shaped growth on the surface of the eye.  It consists of blood vessels and fibrous tissue.  It is related to excessive dust, wind, and sunlight exposure over a long period of time.

Large reddish flesh growing on the white part of the eye in pterygium.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of pterygium range from mild to severe and patients notice redness and sometimes irritation, grittiness, dryness in the area of the pterygium.  If the pteygium growth is large enough in size, it can extend closer to the centre of the pupil resulting in blurred, distorted vision

Does my pterygium need to be treated?

Generally, pterygia are only treated if they are causing the above symptoms.  Occasionally a pterygium may also be removed for cosmetic purposes.

What are the treatments available?

Initially topical lubricants and vasoconstrictors can be used to reduce symptoms.  Treatment option for pterygium is surgical excision and this is often accompanied by an autoconjunctival graft. This technique reduces the risk of recurrence of the pterygium to less than 5%.  The resulting cosmetic appearance is also improved.