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Pterygium Surgery

What is Pterygium Surgery?

Pterygium is a condition where a growth begins to appear on the white part of your eyeball, called the sclera. It usually appears as a bump that is elevated and shaped somewhat like a wedge. Sometimes called “surfer’s eye” the most common cause of pterygium is glare from the sun that’s multiplied when you’re looking at it on the water. Even though Pterygium most often times is not cancerous, it can be very dangerous and cause disfigurement. The white bumps sometimes lead to blurry vision and pain. 

In some cases, the pterygium is on the smaller size and doesn’t cause much discomfort, in which case Dr. Abedi will treat with eye drops and monitor the progress. However, in cases where the pterygium affects vision, physical appearance, or causes discomfort, Dr. Abedi may recommend pterygium surgery. There have been many surgical advancements over the years which have made pterygium surgery much more successful. In the past, the surgery was aptly called “bare sclera” due to the fact that it left the whites of a patient’s eye open to additional growths which often times occurred in more than 50 percent of patients often larger than before. 

However, the regrowth rate has been lowered with technological advancements and post-surgery care. There are different options for pterygium surgery and each takes roughly 30 minutes usually on an out-patient basis. It is common to feel some pain after a pterygium surgery, depending on the level you may be prescribed medication. Pterygium surgery does require you do wear an eyepatch for a couple days post-surgery due to sensitivity. There are topical solutions that may be recommended in order to reduce scarring and help with healing. Alongside that, steroid eye drops are sometimes recommended in order to prevent swelling and stop a regrowth. 

The best course of action to aid in healing is to wear sunglasses with adequate UV protection. There are also options to help prevent pterygium from happening in the first place most importantly, sunglasses with high UV protection. The highest level of UV protection is level 400, it will block all the damaging sun rays around us every day. It’s still important to remember that pterygium can return even after it’s been surgically removed regardless of the surgery performed. The main reason for this is because of repeat sun exposure without protective eyewear.

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