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  • Writer's picturesohraab yadav

What is pterygium?


Pterygium is a benign growth of the conjunctiva, the clear tissue that lines the white part of the eye and the inside of the eyelid. It is characterized by a triangular-shaped patch of pink or flesh-colored tissue that grows over the cornea, the clear front part of the eye. Pterygium is most commonly found on the nasal side of the eye, but it can also occur on the temporal side.


Pterygium is caused by prolonged exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and to wind and dust. People who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as farmers, sailors, and surfers, are at a higherisk of developing pterygium. The condition is also more common in people living in tropical and subtropical regions.


In most cases, pterygium is a cosmetic problem and does not cause any symptoms. However, in some cases, it can cause redness, itching, burning, and a feeling of having something in the eye. It can also cause glare and halos around lights, especially at night. In severe cases, pterygium can grow large enough to interfere with vision and may need to be surgically removed.


The treatment of pterygium depends on the size of the growth and the symptoms it causes. In mild cases, the condition can be managed with lubricating eye drops or ointments to relieve dryness and discomfort. Sunglasses with UV protection can also help to prevent the condition from getting worse. In more severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the growth. Surgery is usually performed on a day case basis and typically involves removing the growth and replacing it with a small piece of healthy conjunctiva from a donor eye (often from the same eye)


It is important to take precautions to protect your eyes from UV rays and wind and dust. Wearing sunglasses or a wide-brimmed hat when spending time outdoors can help to reduce the risk of developing pterygium. For people who are at high risk of developing the condition, such as those who spend a lot of time outdoors, regular eye exams can help to detect pterygium early and prevent it from getting worse.


Key points:

  • Pterygium is a benign growth of the conjunctiva caused by prolonged exposure to UV rays and wind and dust

  • It is a common condition among people who spend a lot of time outdoors and is more prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions

  • The condition is generally benign and treated with lubricating eye drops and sunglasses with UV protection

  • In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove the growth and prevent it from interfering with vision

  • It is important to take precautions to protect your eyes from UV rays, wind, and dust to reduce the risk of developing pterygium



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