The Dust, the Sun, the Pterygium

While being out in our awesome natural landscape of California has tons of benefits for our mental and physical well being, there is a downside for your eyes — pterygium.

Pterygium is an eye condition that affects people who spend a great deal of time outdoors. It involves the growth of pink, fleshy tissue on the conjunctiva (white part of the eye), usually on the side toward the nose. The cause of pterygium is excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, dust, wind, sand, and humidity. Put those together, and you see why the colloquial name for this condition is Surfer’s Eye, and why it’s no stranger to California residents.

Pterygium is a non-cancerous growth that can develop slowly over time and may not present a threat to the patient’s eyesight unless it covers the pupil of the eye. Patients only need surgery if it interferes with the patient’s eyesight. We treat pterygium at Central Valley Eye Medical Group.

What is pterygium surgery?

The team at Central Valley Eye uses surgery to remove pterygium tissue growth on the white of the eye. This surgery formerly resulted in a hole in the surface of the conjunctiva. This made it likely to regrow pterygium again in the future. But now, a tissue graft taken from the underside of the eyelid corrects this problem.

For pterygium surgery, the patient is placed under local anesthesia — both light oral sedation and local anesthesia on the eye itself. Then we excise the pterygium along with a portion of the surrounding conjunctival tissue. Next, the area where the growth was removed is then scraped with a blade and an abrasive burr to remove any remaining vascular attachments that may remain where the growth was. Then the graft is taken and placed on the excision site. It is placed with an adhesive mixture, usually thrombin and fibrinogen.

After surgery

At Central Valley Eye Medical Group, pterygium surgery only takes 30 to 45 minutes. Afterwards, you’ll need to wear a protective eye shield for the next two days. It will be four or five days before you can return to work.  It will be a few weeks before you should attempt strenuous exercise or labor. You’ll have to avoid things such as lifting that create pressure on the eyes.

Is it time for your eye exam? Call the team at Central Valley Eye Medical Group, 1-800-244-9907 for an appointment.

Posted in: Eye Conditions


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