What is a Pterygium?
This is a growth of the conjunctiva (the clear mucous membrane tissue overlying the white of the eye) onto the cornea (the front window of the eye). It usually grows very slowly and, in some cases, may remain static. It may reduce vision by causing distortion of the cornea or by growing across it and crossing the line of your vision.
What causes it?
It is thought to be caused by dry eyes and environmental factors such as excessive exposure to dust, wind and UV light.
Does it need treatment?
Only if it causes discomfort that is not relieved with medication, affects vision, or is likely to affect vision.
Mild discomfort, due to the drying effect on the cornea around the base of the pterygium, can be relieved by lubricants. More extreme drying causes inflammation and a short course of anti-inflammatory drops can be helpful when this occurs.
More severe symptoms that do not respond to these simple measures can be treated by pterygium eye surgery, which is also an option if it is affecting your vision or growing in size and likely to affect vision. It is important to prevent excessive exposure to UV light (e.g. wear wraparound sunglasses) and protect your eyes from dry, dusty conditions. This may reduce the risk of it becoming worse or recurring if you have had surgery to remove it.