Understanding Pterygium Surgery and Recovery

Understanding Pterygium Surgery and Recovery

A pterygium is a common eye condition that affects many people across the world. Generally, pterygium is a non-cancerous growth on the surface of the eye that can grow over time, distort vision and impact the appearance of the eye. Fortunately, if the growth is causing significant problems, treatment is available. The most comprehensive and common treatment is surgical excision.


When is Surgery Needed for a Pterygium

Pterygium surgery involves the removal of the entire growth from the surface of the eye. Surgery may be required if the growth encroaches on the visual axis or creates astigmatism, which requires vision correction.

This can be seen by observing how close the pterygium comes to reaching the center of the pupil and whether or not new glasses or contact lenses are needed due to the increase in astigmatism power of the cornea.


Who Develops a Pterygium

Developing a pterygium can be completely unexplained, but there are factors that increase the risk and prevalence of a pterygium beginning.

Patients at risk include those who frequently expose their eyes to sunlight, wind, and dust, as well as patients with past history of pterygium recurrences.

Construction workers are notoriously susceptible to developing a pterygium given the demands of the profession.


The Pterygium Surgery Procedure

Pterygium surgery is an outpatient procedure and typically lasts around thirty minutes. Local anesthesia is used to numb the eye, so you won’t feel any pain or discomfort throughout the surgery.

The steps to remove the pterygium and repair the eye will vary based on the size of the pterygium and its position on the eye.

The surgeon will remove the pterygium, cutting it out along with the abnormal surface tissue over the white of the eye or sclera.

It may also involve removing a small portion of the sclera when needed to completely remove the lesion.

After removing the pterygium, the gap in the sclera will be filled with a graft from your own conjunctiva, the mucus membrane of the eye, or can be filled with outside sources such as stem cells or amniotic tissue.

Once the graft is in place, an eye patch is placed and the procedure is complete.


Recovery from Pterygium Surgery

Most patients can resume their normal activities within one to two days after the procedure. It is important to follow your eye doctor’s instructions after the surgery to ensure proper healing.

To speed recovery, avoid strenuous exercise, use ice or cool compresses, wear protective goggles and sunglasses, and make sure to use all medication eye drops as directed.

Additional follow-up visits are needed to verify that the entire pterygium was removed and that the graft is healed properly.


Benefits of Pterygium Excision

A pterygium excision is not a small procedure – it requires multiple incisions, excision, and grafting. Despite this, the procedure is very safe and effective.

This procedure is the main treatment for any pterygium that is creating symptoms – it will improve the appearance of the eye, reduce astigmatism, and improve the clarity of sight in the eye.


Dr. Jorge Malouf and the staff of the Malouf Eye specialize in a variety of ophthalmologic conditions and treatments including cataract surgery, glaucoma surgery, strabismus surgery, neuro-ophthalmology exams, oculoplastics, diabetes and more. Call our ophthalmologist in Tampa, FL today at 813-798-2020 if you are interested in learning more about pterygium surgery  Our eye doctor provides only the highest quality eye care and surgical services amongst eye doctors in the Tampa, Florida area.