What is a pterygium?
A pterygium is a wedge- or wing-shaped growth of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue covering the white part of the eye. This type of growth is non-cancerous and may occur in one or both eyes. When occurring in both eyes, the condition is called pterygia.
Will I need surgery to correct a pterygium?
Many patients feel no physical discomfort after developing pterygia. Surgical removal may be necessary if you feel an uncomfortable sensation or if the pterygium is obstructing your vision. Edison, New Jersey eye doctors Dr. Hitesh K. Patel and Dr. Himanshu S. Shah can conduct a thorough examination of your condition to determine whether surgery will be necessary.
What causes pterygium?
While the exact causes of pterygium are not well understood, doctors agree that prolonged exposure to sunlight, especially ultraviolet light, as well as chronic eye irritation from windy, sandy, dry or dusty environments, may contribute to the development of the condition. If you feel you may be at risk, protect your eyes by wearing a hat and sunglasses outdoors, and avoid prolonged sun exposure.
What are the symptoms of a pterygium?
You may be able to see the pterygium growing on your eye but experience no symptoms and require no medical treatment. In some cases, pterygium may become swollen or appear red and inflamed. Sometimes the area begins to look thicker. You may have the sensation of having a foreign body lodged in your eye. Advanced pterygium may distort the corneal surface, which can lead to astigmatism.
What are my pterygium treatment options?
If you are experience no symptoms and no vision obstruction, Dr. Patel and Dr. Shah may suggest a wait-and-see approach. Milder forms of pterygium can be removed efficiently using a topical anesthetic. If Dr. Patel and Dr. Shah are concerned about recurrence of the pterygium, they many suggest an AmnioGraft®, a very safe procedure that covers the area with of a piece of surface eye tissue to prevent the pterygium from returning.
How can I prevent the development of pterygia?
Your best defense against pterygium is to wear UV 400 rated sunglasses when outdoors. Particularly, sunglasses offering a wrap around design offer the greatest protection. You may also wish to wear a wide-brimmed hat. If you work in conditions that are dry, sandy, windy or dusty, this may contribute to developing pterygium.
Please contact our eye doctors in NJ today to schedule your pterygium consultation at Patel Eye Associates, serving New Brunswick, Edison and Middlesex County, New Jersey.