What is a pterygium?

A pterygium is a growth of abnormal tissue on the surface of the eye.

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It changes one of the conjunctival layers of the eye (i.e. the layer covering the white of the eye). The pterygium mostly appears on the nasal side of the eye but can also appear on the outer part.

Often calcium is deposited in this tissue which can cause irritation and an irregular tear film. Thus your eyes may feel gritty and may present as a red, irritated eye which is worsened by wind and light.

How is it treated?

Pterygiums can be removed through surgery. Once the pterygium is removed, Dr Lynette Venter prefers to transplant a part of the conjunctiva of the same eye that has not been exposed to UV rays.

This transplant is either sutured or glued. The glue decreases the healing period as well as chances of re-occurrence.

After a week, the transplant may be red due to new blood vessels growing into the graft to promote acceptance of the tissue. The healing period is approximately 6 weeks.Related image

Schematic steps of the primary pterygium excision and repair with conjunctival flap technique. a-c, Pterygium excision. d and e, Transpositional flap preparation. f, Transpositional flap saturation to defect area. 


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