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Pterygium Eye Treatment

More about Cornea

What is a Pterygium?

A Pterygium is a fleshy growth that grows from one corner of the eye and starts encroaching upon the cornea. It starts from the edge of the eye. The rate at which it grows can vary greatly. Sometimes it grows rapidly enough to warrant a procedure and other times it takes years before anything needs to be done. It is overall a harmless growth and does not have any long-lasting negative impact on the eye. 

Pterygium Causes?

The exact cause is unknown. It is known to occur in individuals who have increased exposure to UV light. It is thus seen in individuals who spend more time outdoors. In India, we see this condition more in farmers. It is known that pterygium occurs in individuals who have increased exposure to the following

  1. Pollen
  2. Wind
  3. Sand
  4. Smoke
  5. Sunny areas

It is seen twice as frequently in males as compared to females.

Signs and Symptoms?

  • Eye redness and inflammation
  • A gritty or burning feeling in the eye
  • A feeling that there is a foreign object in the eye
  • Dryness of the eye due to reduced tear production
  • Blurring of vision if the transparent layer at the front of the eye (cornea) is distorted

How is the Pterygium treated?

In the initial stages of the pterygium patients may experience some discomfort like irritation and watering. At this time some eye drops can be given.

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops
  2. Mild steroids eye drops
  3. Antibiotic eye drops

As the pterygium grows it may have to be surgically removed. The decision to operate could be for both medical as well as cosmetic reasons. There is no other treatment to make this fleshy mass growing over the eye disappear.

After giving local anaesthesia the fleshy mass is removed scraping it from the corneal surface. Because the pterygium may recur two additional procedures are done. The first is the application of a substance called Mitomycin C. This substance kills the regenerating cells and prevents recurrence. This substance should be used with caution. The second procedure which is done to prevent recurrence is called a conjunctival autograft. Here a small piece of the conjunctiva is removed from another part of the same eye and placed and sutured or stuck to the affected area.

The eye is patched with ointment and the patch is removed the next day. Many a time a contact lens is also placed on the eye to give comfort to the patient and this lens is removed after a few days.  The patient may experience some itching and watering for a few days. Congestion may persist for up to a week to 10 days.

What does the Pterygium Surgery cost?

The pterygium surgery is done under local anaesthesia and takes about 20 minutes per pterygium. The cost of pterygium surgery would depend on 

  1. No of pterygiums
  2. If Mitomycin C is used
  3. If a conjunctival Autograft is performed along with the surgery
  4. If glue is used instead of sutures.

Usually, the surgery costs around Rs 35000 per pterygium.

Pterygium eye drops?

In the early stages of pterygium patients may experience

  • Watering
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Discharge
  • Blurry vision

When patients are uncomfortable following drops can be used

  1. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops
  2. Steroid eye drops
  3. Antibiotic eye drops - Not used very often but if associated infection these may be needed
  4. Lubricants

Pterygium treatment without surgery?

As mentioned above the initial stages of pterygium can be managed with eye drops. The later stages, however, require surgery.  The pterygium will not go away just by putting eye drops. The only way it can be treated is by performing a pterygium removal.

Are you looking for a Pterygium surgery in Mumbai?

Doctors at Eye Solutions have been performing a pterygium surgery for the past 15 years. We can perform the following

  1. Pterygium excision
  2. Pterygium excision with conjunctival autograft
  3. Pterygium excision with Mitomycin C with Conjunctival autograft

All the above surgeries can be performed using glue instead of sutures.



Frequently Asked Questions ?

How much time does the surgery take ?
Usually the surgery for a pterygium takes less than 30 minutes.
How long does it take to recover from Pterygium Surgery?
There is some amount of redness in the eyes after the surgery. This redness take upto 3-4 weeks to completely go away.  Patients will also feel a poking sensation for the first few days. This poking sensation is reduced because of a contact lens that your doctor places in the eye. This contact lens is removed a 5-7 days after surgery.

What are the risks of pterygium surgery?
Pterygium surgery is a relatively safe surgery and not usually associated with any serious complications. This surgery is performed under local anesthesia. There is always a risk of what is known as globe perforation at the time of giving the local anesthesia and at the time of surgery. This complication exists with most eye surgeries. While it is a serious complication it is very rare and can be managed then and there.
Is Pterygium surgery painful?
Pterygium surgery is done under local anesthesia. A small injection is given below the eye. There is mild pain at the time of giving this injection. After the medicine takes effect the eye becomes numb and patient does not feel any pain during the surgery.

When is Pterygium Surgery needed?
A pterygium is a membrane like structure that grows on the surface of the eye. When it is very small and all the way in the periphery it usually does not cause any discomfort to the patient. That being said it may still be visually disturbing for the patient or the family members. 

If the pterygium grows and starts moving toward the centre of the cornea then there is a possibility of vision getting affected. When you or your doctor feel that the pterygium is growing and moving toward the centre then one must plan the surgery.
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