Pterygium

For information about pterygium surgery, please click here.

What is a pterygium?

A pterygium is a fleshy growth of tissue, which usually extends from the nasal side (inside) of the white part of the eye, onto the cornea (the clear window at the front of the eye). 

Pterygia usually grow very slowly towards the visual axis. If they are large enough, they can cause a permanent reduction in vision.

Below is an illustration of a typical pterygium:

What is the cause of pterygia?

Exposure to sunlight is the most common cause of pterygia and as a result they  are very common in Australia. People at most risk are those who spend a lot of time outdoors, such as farmers, surfers and keen golfers. 

What are the symptoms of pterygia?

In most cases, pterygia cause chronic dryness and discomfort. They also frequently become red and inflammed. 

They can affect the sight by causing astigmatism, or, if they are large enough, by blocking the light from entering the eye.

How can I minimise the symptoms of my pterygium?

The best way to make your eye comfortable is to use plenty of lubricants. It is also important to protect your eyes with sunglasses.

Occasionally prescription eye drops may be needed if the eye is very inflammed, although this is not recommended for long-term treatment.

For information about pterygium surgery, please click here.

Dr Joshua Yuen

Dr Joshua is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more

Dr Brad Johnson

Dr Johnson is an experienced consultant ophthalmic surgeon, who specialises in retinal diseases and cataract surgery... read more