What is a pterygium?
Pterygiums are typically red and inflamed triangular growths over the edge of your cornea near the nose. They can cause redness, irritation and poor appearance. If they become very large they can affect vision with scarring and distortion.
If the pterygium is mild the symptoms of a pterygium may be managed with topical lubricants and the progression may slow by using sunglasses.
Surgical excision is the only way to remove the pterygium and improve the appearance of your eye.
I use the latest techniques to remove the pterygium and cover the area with a conjunctival graft from under the upper eyelid. I also remove as much of the scar tissue that causes the red and thickened appearance of the pterygium.
This procedure minimises the risk of recurrence and maximizes the cosmetic appearance of your eye.
This operation is done as day surgery with local anaesthetic. It takes about 45 minutes and you’ll go home with an eyepatch on that you can remove the following morning. I’ll give you a prescription for eyedrops to start once the eyepatch is removed and they generally last 3 months.
Complications of pterygium surgery
Pterygium surgery is very safe with low chances of complications.
The main potential complication is recurrence, however the risk of this is minimised by the surgical technique that I use.
Other risks include a small chance of infection, bleeding and double vision after the operation. There is also a extremely small chance of reduced vision due to bleeding around the eye or scarring (1 in 10 000).
Normal experiences after the operation
It’s normal for your eye to be quite uncomfortable for a couple of days. It’s important to use the prescribed medication during this period as it will reduce the inflammation and improve your comfort.
You should also use standard oral pain relief, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen; as long as this is safe for you and doesn’t interact with yourother medication. Please check with Dr Green.
There will commonly be visible bleeding around your eye for 1-2 weeks and your eye may be red for up to four weeks.
I will review you in the first week after surgery and again a month later.
I will prescribe eye drops for you to use for 6-12 weeks depending on your improvement.
Pterygium surgery is a safe and effective form of treatment of pterygia.