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PTERYGIUM INFO, TREATMENT & SURGERY

PTERYGIUM FAQs

PTERYGIUM FAQs

YOUR PTERYGIUM QUESTIONS ANSWERED

Here are the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions about pterygium (or Surfers Eye). Contact us if you have any other questions or concerns.

What Are The Risks / Complications Of A Pterygium Surgery?

A pterygium may not cause problems other than redness and eye irritation however, if it continues to grow onto your cornea, it may cause vision problems.

Therefore, failure to have the treatment performed when recommended by an experienced Pterygium Ophthalmologist can increase the risk of long term damage to your vision.

Although complications are very low or rare with qualified surgeons utilising the PERFECT Pterygium technique they are still possible. They might include but not limited to:

  • The formation of a cyst, infection, or proud flesh requiring further treatment or surgery – 1 in 400.
  • Persistent double vision requiring surgical intervention – 1 in 500
  • The graft tissue remaining red and inflamed due to rejection requiring surgical replacement – 1 in 500
  • A drooping eyelid which requires corrective surgery – 1 in 1000
  • Loss of functional vision due to uncontrolled infection or perforation of the eye – 1 in 10,000+

Removal of recurrent pterygium usually performed by another surgeon increases the risk of persistent double vision. This could require further surgery to correct the situation.

How Do I Prevent A Pterygium?

The risk of developing a pterygium is significantly reduced by limiting your exposure to the sun with UV blocking sunglasses and hats when outside.

Why Did My Pterygium Grow?

Experts aren’t sure what causes a pterygium to grow. Exposure to ultraviolet light plays some role. Having certain genes may help lead to a pterygium in some people as well. Infection with human papillomavirus may also play a role however experts are less sure about that.

Will I Notice The Symptoms Of A Pterygium?

It is often difficult to notice the symptoms of pterygium as they are often very mild. This is the case particularly while the Pterygium is small, i.e. less than 1 mm. It is not uncommon for people to have no symptoms at all.

Common symptoms can include:

  • Eye irritation and burning
  • Eye dryness
  • Eye redness
  • Blurred vision (if the growth gets close to the middle of your cornea)
  • Restricted eye movement (not common)

Cosmetically pterygium’s don’t look pretty, usually appearing as a triangle or winged shaped growth. Friends and family start to notice once the pterygium has grown onto the cornea or clear part of your eye. Pterygium often appear as an inflamed bright pink or red area on the eye however they can also be white.

How Is A Pterygium Diagnosed?

A pterygium is diagnosed by your Optometrist or family medical practitioner as part of a routine examination. Regular examinations will ensure it is picked up in early development.

They may recommend and provide a referral to an Ophthalmologist ideally a surgeon who has been specifically trained in advanced Pterygium surgery like the PERFECT technique.

Referral usually occurs when the Pterygium is causing frustrating symptoms or impacting the quality of your vision. They may just recommend monitoring if the symptoms are mild or the Pterygium is not growing.

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