What is a pterygium and what causes it ?
A Pterygium is a fleshy growth that grows from one corner of the eye and starts encroaching upon the cornea. Prolonged exposure to sunlight is known to cause this condition however this has also been seen in people who are mainly indoors.
What problems does a pterygium cause ?
Apart from a cosmetic blemish these pterygiums can also reduce vision when they encroach upon the central part of the cornea. Sometimes even when they dont encroach upon the central part of the cornea they reduce vision. This happens becuase a pterygium induces astigmatism. Astigmatism is nothing but a type of eyesight power.
How is the pterygium treated ?
A pterygium has to be surgically removed 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 a local anesthesia the fleshy mass is removed scraping it from the corneal surface. Because the pterygium may recur two additional procedures are done. The first is 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 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 upto a week to 10 days.
Frequently Asked Questions
Usually the surgery for a pterygium takes less than 30 minutes.
A pterygium excision is a relatively safe surgery. The risks of anything going wrong are almost nil.
As mentioned previously sometimes your eye doctor performs two additional procedures to prevent recurrence of the pterygium. We have also mentioned that the autograft can be stuck or sutured to the affected area. Thus, there are a few variations that are possible in this surgery. The cost can vary anywhere between Rs 15000 to Rs 30000 per eye.