What is pterygium? (ter-ee-jium)
This is a growth of tissue on the surface of the eye. This can cause problems with vision if it distorts the cornea. It also will often cause irritation and redness of the eye. This is not a cancer
Are there eye drops to make this go away?
When the eye is irritated due to this condition, artificial tears can be prescribed to improve comfort. When the pterygium is very inflamed (red and painful), steroid eye drops may be prescribed to reduce the inflammation. However, these eye drops do not make the pterygium do away, they only serve to reduce discomfort.
How is it removed?
Over time, the pterygium will grow towards the center of the cornea and affect vision. The definitive treatment is to excise it (surgical removal). The bare area is then covered with a normal conjunctiva (skin of the white surface of the eye, underneath the eyelid). This is like a skin graft done on other areas of the body. It is easily done and reduces recurrence rates to about 10%. The traditional way to perform the surgery is to stitch on the graft. In NUH, a special medical grade glue is available for use such that stitches are no longer needed. This reduces the scratchy sensation, reduces inflammation and also reduces the chances of the growth recurring.
What will it be like for me after surgery?
The procedure is done under local anaesthesia. You will be given a prescription for eye drops to be used about 4 times a day. Your eye will feel scratchy as the surface is uneven. This will last for about 1 - 2 weeks.
What can go wrong?
The surgery is very safe, with chance of sight threatening problems at less than 1 in 5000. Occasionally there is some bleeding or a mild infection, but this is rare.