Pinguecula & Pterygium
What is a pinguecula?
Pinguecula (pronounced "Ping-Wek-Yoo-La") is an abnormal tissue growth over the white part of the eye. It does NOT extend over the cornea (the clear central part of your eye). The appearance of a pinguecula is usually a slightly raised growth, that is yellow or pink.
What is a pterygium?
Pterygium (pronounced "Tuh-Ree-Jee-Um") is an abnormal tissue growth that extends from the corner of the eye toward the center of your eye. The appearance of a pterygium can vary from a small, almost unnoticeable tissue mass to a large growth.
What are the symptoms of a pterygium?
It is possible that a patient with a pterygium has no symptoms at all. Other patients have a variety of symptoms including redness, swelling, itching, irritation, and blurred vision. Vision can be affected if the pterygium grows to cover the center of the eye or if the irregular tissue grows and restricts the eye movement.
Are there ways to prevent pinguecula or pterygium?
Protecting your eyes from prolonged sun exposure the best prevention method. When outdoor wear a hat with a brim and UV coated sunglasses to block the sun's harmful UV rays. These precautions are even more important you live in a tropical or subtropical area, you work outside, or if you participate in outdoor activities like fishing skiing or gardening.
How is pterygium treated?
Treatment depends on the symptoms. UV protection is important to prevent further damage to the surface of the eye.
You can treat symptoms with over the counter artificial tears (topical lubricating drops) and/or ointments. Your doctor can also prescribe short term use of topical corticosteroid anti inflammatory drops when symptoms are not relieved by over the counter medication. While a pinguecula is usually not treated with surgery, if medications do not alleviate your symptoms or if you want a better cosmetic appearance, a pterygium can be surgically removed.
How is a pterygium surgically removed?
Your pterygium can be surgically removed in an outpatient setting under local or topical anesthesia. It's called Ocular Surface Reconstruction. Your surgeon will remove all of the pterygium tissue from the surface of your eye. In order to help the area around the pterygium heal your surgeon will treat the surface of your eye by covering the area where the pterygium was removed with an amniotic membrane graft. This usually results in less inflammation, less pain, and a better cosmetic outcome.
What can I expect after surgery?
After surgery, the eye may be patched overnight. Topical antibiotic and anti-inflammatory drops and/or ointments will be used to minimize the inflammation and help with the healing your doctor will monitor your healing and advise you how often to use the drops and/or ointments. There may be significant discomfort during the first few days, as the surface of your eye needs to heal. The amount of discomfort varies from patient to patient. The eye will heal within three to four.
Are there any risks of complications with surgery?
The most common complication of pterygium surgery is the chance that the pterygium might grow back. Following your doctor orders including taking prescriptions and attending all post operative appointments especially the appointment the 3 or 4 week after surgery, will help reduce complications Those patients who develop recurrent pterygium can be retreated using the same surgical removal as described.