Pterygium is an elevated, wedge-shaped growth on the conjunctiva, the translucent mucous membrane protecting the eyeball. Pterygium are nurtured by tiny capillary vessels that supply blood to the tissue. These non-cancerous growths are commonly diagnosed in people who spend a substantial amount of time outdoors and exposed to sunlight and wind. A pterygium can often develop from a pinguecula, a yellowish-brown subconjunctival growth composed of degenerated elastic tissue. As the pterygium evolves, it may grow large enough to cover the pupil and iris, as well as modify the shape of the cornea, causing astigmatism and vision distortion. Once the pterygium invades the central cornea, it will need to be surgically removed by the Mill Basin eye surgeons at Brook Plaza Ophthalmology in order to restore sight.
Luckily, pterygiums are not painful growths, though they may cause mild eye irritation, redness, and tearing. If the pterygia swells and becomes large and thick, it may cause a foreign sensation in the eyeball. If you notice a pterygium, treatment at Brook Plaza Ophthalmology is not performed until the symptoms are severe enough to impact your eyesight. If the growth becomes large enough to jeopardize your visual clarity, it can be surgically removed. Following this quick eye surgery, our Mill Basin ophthalmologists will recommend that you wear an eye patch for protection while it heals. Common side effects of pterygium removal surgery include, the worsening of astigmatism. Additionally, even with proper and successful surgical removal, pterygium have a recurrence rate between 30 and 40 percent in individuals under the age of forty. To learn more about why pterygium develop, come see the eye surgeons at Brook Plaza Ophthalmology.