A pterygium is a growth in the conjunctiva, the tissue that covers the white part of the eye. Noncancerous, pterygiums pose no long-term health risks, but they can interfere with vision and many people choose to have them removed for both this and aesthetic reasons.
Typically wedge-shaped, a pterygium may produce symptoms including:
- Chronic itchiness
- Persistent burning
- Eye redness and irritation
- Blurred vision
In some instances, a pterygium may produce a feeling similar to having a foraging object – such as an eyelash or piece of dirt – in the eye. In extremely rare cases, a pterygium may cause corneal scratching and result in scarring that can cause lasting vision problems.
Even a small pterygium can make wearing contact lenses difficult, and their high visibility can produce emotional discomfort as well. If you are experiencing any of these issues, the board-certified eye surgeons at Seeta Eye Centers can help.
If you have been diagnosed with a pterygium or if you have an unusual growth in your eye that is causing you discomfort or concern, call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 to schedule a consultation today. We maintain offices in Fishkill and Poughkeepsie and welcome patients living throughout the Hudson Valley.
There are a few treatment options for pterygiums. Which one will best meet your needs is dependent on how invasive your pterygium is and whether or not it is causing vision problems.
When irritation alone is the issue, eye drops or topical ointments can be very effective at reducing inflammation and redness. This can help reduce the visibility of the pterygium as well, making it a suitable option in cases where no vision disruption is occluding. When vision is being obstructed, however, surgical intervention may be the best option.
During pterygium surgery, the growth and surrounding conjunctival tissue are gently removed before a tissue graft is placed over the area. This graft will help prevent future pterygium growth.
The procedure is minimally invasive and comes with very few risks, though some blurred vision and redness are to be expected during recovery. Recovery itself may take anywhere from two to eight weeks, dependent on how much tissue was removed and how well you follow pre and postoperative instructions. We will work directly with you during your recovery and be available to answer questions or concerns during and in between your follow-up visits.
It is not always necessary to remove conjunctival tissue or place a tissue graft. When possible, our ophthalmologists will take a more conservative approach, which may reduce postoperative discomfort and some associated risks. However, this less invasive method of pterygium removal is not always as effective at preventing regrowth and may not be suitable in every case. During your initial consultation at one of our offices, we will carefully evaluate your eyes, provide honest information about your options, and help you choose the best treatment for your needs.
Can Pterygiums be Prevented?
The exact cause of pterygiums is not known, though they may be linked to:
- UV Exposure
- Environmental pollutants like smoke
- Allergens including pollen
- Irritants such as wind or sand
You may be able to reduce your risks by wearing sunglasses that offer full UVA/UVB protection, not smoking, and reducing your exposure to environmental irritants. However, there is no known way to completely prevent the growth of a pterygium.
Fortunately, treatment is often simple and, even when removal is necessary, relatively noninvasive. We can discuss all of your options in detail during your initial consultation to help you understand what will be best in your situation.
Contact Seeta Eye Centers
Call Seeta Eye Centers at 845-454-1025 to schedule a consultation today. We serve Spackenkill, Milton, Hyde Park, Wappingers Falls, Beacon, Shenandoah, and all surrounding areas from our Fishkill and Poughkeepsie locations.