Pterygium – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments!

Pterygium – What is it, Symptoms and Treatments of this eye disease that many are unaware of. In addition, the  pterygium is a fleshy formation that advances over the cornea, usually on the nasal side. It is the eye ‘s response to a process of chronic eye irritation, in which exposure to sunlight and wind play an important role.

For this reason, patients often refer to pterygium as a kind of “grown flesh in the eyes ” or simply, “flesh in the eyes ” (see photos below). Pterygium in the eye is a lesion that usually grows slowly throughout life. It may even stop growing at a certain point. In advanced cases, the pterygium can grow in such a way that it covers the pupil and interferes with vision .

Ocular pterygium can range from a small lesion to large, aggressive or fibrovascular lesions that can distort the corneal topography and in advanced cases can occlude the optic center of the cornea.

It is a disease that usually affects people who spend a lot of time outdoors, exposed to wind and sun, and can affect one or both eyes ( Bilateral pterygium ). Pterygium is usually not a serious problem. It can, however, cause some very unpleasant symptoms and signs.

Causes: The exact causes are not fully known until today. It can be caused by hereditary or environmental factors and has a higher incidence in tropical regions, where the climate is drier and warmer.

Pterygium occurs in people who spend a lot of time outdoors, with wind, especially during the summer and with prolonged exposure to the sun, especially to ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB). Dusty environments and dry eyes also favor the emergence of pterygium .

Symptoms: In Pterygium , usually, there are several signs and symptoms that can be more or less exuberant according to the evolution of the disease. In certain circumstances the pterygium is even asymptomatic (no symptoms). Among the most common symptoms we can include:

Pterygium can progressively grow over the cornea (the clear, outer layer of the eye ), which can distort the cornea, causing astigmatism.

Treatments: When the pterygium becomes red and irritated, eye drops can be used to reduce inflammation. The use of eye drops based on vasoconstrictors and lubricants is usually indicated, in addition to promoting protection against aggressive agents such as sun, wind, dust and smoke. However, in cases where the pterygium has become large enough to interfere with vision or is unsightly, it must be surgically removed.

Simple pterygium excision, in which only the tissue is removed, is a simple and quick technique, but it is associated with a high incidence of recurrences, as the area that is exposed without any protection produces an inflammatory response to force the body to cover that region. , which causes recurrence in about 30 to 60%.

Currently, with the aim of preventing recurrence, the removal of the pterygium is associated with a second technique, the autologous transplant of the conjunctiva (thin layer that covers the eyeball), which is transplanted from the upper portion of the eye (protected by the eyelid ). of the action of aggressive agents throughout life) to the area where the Pterygium existed , thus restoring the normal physiology and anatomy of the affected area.

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