Have you noticed a fleshy growth on the surface of your eye? This is a common condition, especially if you are outdoors a lot. You may have what is called a pterygium.
If you spend a lot of time outside near water, you’re experiencing a lot of UV ray damage to your eyes over time. This happens because nearly the full-strength of the sun’s UV rays are reflected by the surface of the water. This can eventually cause a fleshy, pink growth to occur in the whites of the eyes. This can also happen to people who experience dry eyes. Although these growths, called pterygia, are benign, it can still affect your vision and irritate your eyes.
A pterygium often begins with the feeling that there is something in your eye, similar to a speck of dirt or debris. When the pterygium grows large enough to be seen, it will often occur on the side of the eye closest to the nose. If untreated, the pterygium can grow large enough to obstruct your vision by covering the cornea and pupil.
Your treatment options for pterygium will depend on the kind of pterygium you have. Small pterygium can be treated with prescribed medications like steroid eye drops or lubricants. This can help reduce redness, swelling, and irritation. Large pterygium that affect your vision will need to be surgically removed. This excision can be performed at our office or in an operating room. The surgery is short and usually only requires about thirty minutes.
After the surgery has been completed, you’ll need to wear eye protection like an eye patch for at least a day or two after surgery. Although rare, you may induce astigmatism of the eye when having a pterygium removed. It’s also possible for the pterygium to return if you continue to expose your eyes to UV rays. To prevent this, sometimes a method called autologous conjunctival autografting is used where a piece of eye tissue is grafted to where the pterygium occurred. This can prevent it from regrowing.
If you’re looking for treatment and relief from pterygium, give us a call to set up an appointment with our eye doctors at Anh Nguyen Ophthalmology. We can find an appointment that works best for you so you can begin looking at your best treatment options.