A pterygium is a growth of the conjunctiva or mucous membrane that covers the white part of your eye over the cornea. The cornea is the clear front covering of the eye. This benign or noncancerous growth is often shaped like a wedge. It usually doesn’t cause problems or require treatment, but it can be removed if it interferes with your vision.
what causes pterygium
The exact cause of pterygium isn’t known. One explanation is that too much exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light can lead to these growths. It occurs more often in people who live in warm climates and spend a lot of time outdoors in sunny or windy environments. People whose eyes are exposed to certain elements on a regular basis have a higher risk of developing this condition. These elements include:
what are the symptoms of pterygium?
A pterygium doesn’t always cause symptoms. When it does, the symptoms are usually mild. Common symptoms include redness, blurred vision, and eye irritation. You might also feel a burning sensation or itchiness. If such disease grows large enough to cover your cornea, it can interfere with your vision. Thick or larger pterygium can also cause you to feel like you have a foreign object in your eye. You might not be able to continue wearing contact lenses when you have such due to discomfort
Pterygium has a characteristic shape as it is triangular, with the base of the triangle located in the conjunctiva and the apex of the triangle encroaching onto the cornea.
With corneal involvement, even if arrested surgically, It can affect vision by warping the surface of the cornea and inducing astigmatism, and/or by actually growing over in front of the pupil and obstructing the entering light.
How serious is it?
A pterygium can lead to severe scarring on your cornea, but this is rare. Scarring on the cornea needs to be treated because it can cause vision loss. For minor cases, treatment usually involves eye drops or ointment to treat inflammation. In the more serious cases, treatment can involve surgical removal of it
How is It diagnosed?
Diagnosing a pterygium is straightforward. Your eye doctor may diagnose this condition based on a physical examination using a slit lamp. This lamp allows your doctor to see your eye with the help of magnification and bright lighting. If your doctor needs to do additional tests, they may include:
- Visual acuity test. This test involves reading letters on an eye chart.
- Corneal topography. This medical mapping technique is used to measure curvature changes in your cornea.
- Photo documentation. This procedure involves taking pictures to track the growth rate of the pterygium.
pterygium Treatment :
pterygium seem to occur more frequently in people who spent much time outside, and is especially common in the southern lattitudes “Some consider pterygium as an occupational disease” So protecting the eyes from sun, dust and wind and use of lubricating drops is the standard treatment.
If the pterygium is still troublesome it can be removed surgically under local anaesthetic ,with high rate of recurrence. Once the pterygium is removed, the bare sclera is covered with conjunctiva