We understand that pterygium can be a concerning condition, and we are here to provide you with the necessary information about the surgery involved, the potential benefits, and the risks and complications associated with the procedure.
As each case varies, it is important that you discuss your case in detail with a specialist surgeon.
What is Pterygium?
Pterygium is a common eye condition characterised by the growth of a pinkish, fleshy tissue on the white part of the eye (conjunctiva) that may extend onto the cornea. It can cause symptoms such as redness, irritation, foreign body sensation, and blurred vision. Pterygium is often associated with long-term exposure to UV light and dry, dusty environments.
Medical treatment for Pterygium
Use of artificial tears is the mainstay of non-surgical management of pterygium. Occasional and infrequent use of low-concentration artificial tears may also be needed but this should always be guided by your ophthalmologist.
Surgical treatment for Pterygium
In cases where pterygium causes significant symptoms or affects vision, surgical intervention may be recommended. Pterygium surgery is a safe and effective procedure that aims to remove the abnormal tissue and restore the health and clarity of the affected eye. The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthesia on an outpatient basis, meaning you can go home on the same day.
Pros of Pterygium Surgery:
- Improved Comfort: Surgery can alleviate symptoms such as redness, itching, and irritation, allowing you to enjoy better eye comfort and clarity of vision.
- Restored Appearance: The surgery aims to remove the visible growth, enhancing the natural appearance of your eye.
- Enhanced Vision: By removing the pterygium, surgery can potentially improve vision that was previously affected by the growth.
Cons of Pterygium Surgery:
- Recurrence: Although rare, pterygium can reoccur after surgery. However, advanced surgical techniques, such as conjunctival grafting, have significantly reduced the recurrence rate.
- Temporary Discomfort: It is normal to experience mild discomfort, redness, and watery eyes during the post-operative period. These symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks.
- Healing Time: Full recovery from pterygium surgery may take several weeks. During this time, it is important to follow your surgeon’s instructions and avoid activities that could strain or irritate the eye.
Risks and Potential Complications:
While pterygium surgery is generally safe, like any surgical procedure, it carries some risks and potential complications. These include but are not limited to:
- Infection: Although uncommon, there is a small risk of infection following surgery. Strict adherence to post-operative care instructions and regular follow-up visits can help minimise this risk.
- Bleeding: Rarely, minor bleeding may occur during or after surgery. Your surgeon will take appropriate measures to control bleeding and prevent complications.
- Dry Eye: Some patients may experience temporary or, in rare cases, long-term dryness of the eyes after surgery. Artificial tears or prescribed lubricating eye drops can help manage this.
- Worse vision: Thought extremely unlikely, a change to astigmatism or damage to the cornea can lead to a worse vision following surgery.
Pterygium surgery is a safe and effective procedure that can provide relief from discomfort, improve vision, and enhance the appearance of your eye. Our team is here to guide you through the entire process and ensure your comfort and well-being. Please feel free to ask any questions or voice any concerns you may have during your consultation. We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of care and expertise to help you regain optimal eye health.
Note: This is general patient information and should not substitute personalised medical advice. Please consult Dr Koutroumanos for specific information regarding your condition and treatment options.