Pterygium (conjunctiva) is a fleshy overgrowth of conjunctiva which grows like a reddish swelling towards the cornea. It is common among surfers due to excessive sun and wind exposure. It causes redness, irritation and watering.
If untreated, a pterygium may grow across the cornea affecting vision. In this situation, surgical treatment may be required. Pterygia may grow back despite successful surgery.
Symptoms of a Pterygium:
- Usually painless
- Inflammation, including bloodshot whites of the eye
- Itching and burning sensations on the eye surface
- The tissue is often triangular, pink and fleshy
Occasionally it can cause eyes to become sore and interfere with vision, by causing astigmatism or blocking the vision. It can be avoided by using UV protective sunglasses. If irritation is only mild, lubricating drops help initially but if it continues to grow in size and causes redness, irritation and pain, it can be surgically excised and replaced by anti-conjunctival graft with absorbable sutures.
In most cases Pterygium can be treated with protection against UV radiation and drops or ointments; however in certain circumstances surgery is required. Your options will be assessed in your appointment with one of our ophthalmologists.